How to Lead a Team Without an Area of Expertise
By: Paulana Lamonier
Many people believe that to be a leader means being an expert. And to some degree, it’s true. However, to be in charge also requires a lack of ego and the ability to learn from anyone on the team, especially when you’re in a new leadership role that feels like foreign territory.
Let’s say you have the initial influence and a solid strategy to lead, but there will be times when your team members will have more experience or better ideas than you. Instead of feeling like a failure, boss up. Any effective leader is aware of their weaknesses and uses this opportunity to soak up knowledge from their peers to slay the company’s goals together.
As a leader, your job is to create an inspiring vision and motivate your team to be successful, but honestly, that’s a lot easier said than done. Here are a few steps on how to not only lead but slay your new leadership role.
1. Get a clear idea of your role and your team’s goals.
Now that you’ve earned your spot in your new role, it’s vital to understand what’s expected of you and your team’s objectives. You can not lead a team if you don’t know what your job entails and what your boss’ expectations of your team. Sit with your boss and have them break down what your duties are and how the team should operate. Most importantly, learn the previous methods of management prior to you joining the team. Always add your personal leadership touch, but there’s also no need to reinvent the wheel completely if it wasn’t broken.
2. Create your own personal board of advisors.
As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but it also takes a village to grow and mentor one’s career. Think of your personal board of advisors as your mini village. According to MIT Sloan Review’s article, you should have about six people on your personal board of advisors: a personal guide, a personal advisor, a full-service mentor, a career advisor, a career guide and role model. With that type of professional support system, you give yourself an ample amount of assistance (when needed) on how to make your decisions and lead your team.
3. Get to know your teammates and their capabilities.
The moment you’ve created your personal board of advisors, find out what value your team brings to the table in terms of their individual strengths and weaknesses. Having a great rapport with your team is how you will map out a successful game plan and win! Whether it’s a team lunch or doing a few team-building exercises, building with them is an invaluable investment in your team. You create an open dialogue, trust and most importantly this encourages team work. This step will also make delegating tasks a lot easier for you.
4. Constantly follow up with your team.
Make sure you’re in constant communication with your boss, team and your personal board of advisors. Otto von Bismarck once said that a fool learns from his mistakes while a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Be open to others’ advice and also learn when to make decisions for yourself and your team.
Mistakes are bound to happen, but with your tribe you’ll be 10 steps ahead of the game and be able to tackle any obstacles that may lie ahead.
Paulana Lamonier is a multimedia journalist & edu-tainer who loves to educate and entertain her audience with compelling stories. She loves Jesus, chocolate and still cries when she watches the ending of 'Set it Off.' Check out her latest updates on her new site, Paulana.co.