In the box ‘Leadership activities and behaviour’, there is a list of activities and ways of behaving commonly associated with the leadership role. It is not an exhaustive list and nor is every factor necessarily relevant to leaders of all professional teams. However, it is quite likely that you do, or are expected to, undertake quite a few of the activities, use many of the skills and engage in a number of the behaviours described.
Leadership Activities And Behaviour
General leadership skills
- Leads by example.
- Ensures that team decisions are converted into action.
- Expects high standards to be met.
- Encourages others to be productive and provide high-quality service.
- Acknowledges and gives recognition for good performance.
- Creates a climate of energy and enthusiasm.
- Clearly explains desired results.
- Makes sure team members have the resources to accomplish tasks.
- Monitors progress on assignments.
- Lets people know when performance is not up to requirements.
- Helps team members to improve by giving feedback constructively and sensitively.
- Coaches team members to help them to learn, improve and adapt.
- Encourages team members to attend appropriate training programmes.
- Gives challenging assignments to competent team members.
- Ensures that the team has clearly defined objectives and action plans.
- Involves team members in the setting of team objectives and action plans.
- Encourages team members to support and work in accordance with the firm’s objectives and strategy.
- Encourages team members to support and work in accordance with the team’s objectives and strategy.
- Stimulates creativity in others.
- Fosters good teamwork by encouraging mutual support and help with skill development.
- Enforces standards in a prompt and sensitive manner.
- Uses the work scheduling process to aid skill development among team members.
- Treats individuals fairly.
- Considers the feelings of others when giving opinions.
- Maintains cooperative working relationships with colleagues inside and outside the team.
- Cares about the feelings of others.
- Doesn’t try to force opinions on others.
- Helps others to think things through.
- Makes others feel comfortable.
- Builds trust among colleagues.
- Shows awareness of the needs of others.
Dealing with conflicts
- Mediates effectively when there are conflicts between individuals.
- Willing to take an unpopular stand when necessary.
- Resolves conflicting demands among team members.
- Avoids compromising too quickly.
- Looks for creative solutions to conflicts whereby each person’s interests are broadly satisfied.
- When involved in disagreements works towards the best solution rather than trying to win.
- Keeps team members informed of impending changes.
- Keeps others who will be affected informed about personal plans and activities.
- Keeps team members informed about the firm’s performance.
- Keeps team members informed about the team’s performance.
- Listens willingly to the concerns of others.
- Listens willingly to disagreements from team members.
- Listens to others without interrupting.
- Fosters a climate where others are free to air feelings.
- Speaks effectively in front of a group.
- Is persuasive orally.
- Is good at communicating through effective questioning.
- Gets points across well when talking.
- Writes clear and concise business documents.
- Ensures that team members understand the firm’s objectives and strategy.
- Ensures that team members understand the team’s objectives and strategy.
- Runs good meetings that are time efficient and at which people contribute enthusiastically.
Planning and organizing work
- Makes plans that are clear.
- Makes plans that are realistic.
- Anticipates problems.
- Uses plans to help to manage.
- Involves others who are affected in the planning process.
- Organizes and schedules tasks effectively.
- Coordinates work with other departments.
- Deals with higher-priority tasks first.
- Establishes effective procedures for getting work done.
- Makes good use of own time.
- Processes paperwork quickly.
- Returns phone calls and deals with requests promptly.
- Keeps information and documents in an orderly manner.
- Sets personal goals daily and achieves them.
- Handles details without getting bogged down.
- Involves the team in making key professional and business decisions.
- Gets good relevant information before deciding.
- Considers options thoroughly before deciding what to do.
- Avoids making rash decisions.
- Makes decisions on time.
- Acts decisively when required.
- Learns from the results of previous decisions.
- Accepts responsibility for own mistakes.
- Deals with pressure constructively.
- Deploys confidence in difficult situations.
- Deals with ambiguity constructively.
- Responds openly to the ideas of others.
- Persists at tasks despite unexpected difficulties.
- Displays a high level of energy and enthusiasm.
- Keeps up to date with developments related to own work.
- Sought by others for professional, technical and business knowledge.
- Knowledgeable about people and operations of the team and the firm as a whole.
- Can be depended on to get the job done.
You might find it useful to check yourself against the list. Which ones do you regard as being relevant to your role? Which ones are you good at? Do you think that your team members would agree with your analysis? Do you think that it would be helpful to get some informal feedback from them? Just as we learn about our effectiveness in providing services by seeking feedback in one way or another from our clients, so we can also learn about our competence as leaders by seeking feedback from our team members.
In addition to the activities and ways of behaving listed in the box, you are quite likely to have a number of other leadership responsibilities. The exact ones will depend on the policies and culture of the firm in which you work but are likely to include selection and induction of new recruits; performance review or appraisal; measurement of team and individual performance; scheduling assignments; obtaining feedback from clients; monitoring profitability of assignments; representing your team elsewhere in the firm; and managing specific projects. Clearly the time available for leadership and management activities will always be limited by the need to remain at the coalface and undertake some technical or professional work personally. The chances are it is not going to be possible for you to do all of the things listed in the box and mentioned elsewhere in the text. There is a need to do some prioritizing. Which activities are you expected to undertake by your firm or by your boss? Indeed, are there any clear expectations? If not, perhaps it would be a good idea to check out with those concerned. Which activities do your team members expect or desire you to perform? Which activities do you believe would be most likely to raise the performance of your team? It is a very useful exercise, if it is not provided for already, to write down the roles, responsibilities and performance standards for your leadership work. As a leader of professionals you are likely to have limited power and authority by virtue of your position alone. You are probably perceived as ‘first among equals’. To attempt to impose your will on your team is a recipe for disaster. You need to gain the agreement of your colleagues as to the extent and nature of your leadership roles and responsibilities.