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What All New Leaders Should Understand

by Jason Dykstra
July 2016

From Jason Dykstra's Thriving Workplace blog

Jason Dykstra

Coming into a role where you are expected to get others to work together efficiently and effectively to create the best possible product or service isn’t an easy task. Especially if you have not had much experience with this type of role before! What do you need to do to set your team or department up for success? How can you motivate your employees to consistently put out a good product or service? How can you build a thriving team or department?

Here are a few things that all new leaders should understand.

Self-Awareness
One of your biggest assets as a leader is knowing your strengths and challenges. Self-awareness is probably one of the most underrated parts of leadership and yet, one of the most crucial. Who are you? What type of leadership style do you have? In what areas of your life do you excel at and struggle with? What do you expect from yourself? Others? How do you deal with conflict? Delegation? Pressure?

Leadership Vision
You’ll likely have had some experience with good and bad bosses before. So what type of leader do you want to be? What’s your view on leadership? Is that something that’s a title that you’re granted or something that you earn? Casting a vision for what you want your leadership to look like and communicating that vision to your staff sets expectations and provides accountability when you are not holding up your side of the bargain.

Values
Identifying your department’s values and your values are critical to success. It’s important that those values that are articulated communicate the core of how your department is going to behave. Many companies will list things like communication, respect, integrity and excellence (actually…those are Enron’s values….), but often those are, what Lencioni would call, permission to play values – the minimum behavioural standard that is acceptable. Rather, you’re looking for those core values that your team is willing to hold each other accountable to and be “reprimanded for” if those values aren’t followed.

Know Your People
Who are the people in your department? What motivates them? What makes them tick? Before jumping into business, spend some time getting to know each person in your department and help to foster relationships between those employees as well. Creating an atmosphere of camaraderie will not only make work more fun for everyone, it also promotes collaboration within the department.

Biography


Jason is a Conflict Management Specialist who is helping organizations and congregations move from conflict situations to creative solutions. He specializes in relational and communication issues and uses his experience and training in mediation, group facilitation, conflict management coaching, speaking and teaching to aid you and your surroundings to better cope with conflict and become more conflict resilient. Jason has a background in social services, working with individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health and at-risk youth. He complements his experience with an Advanced Certificate in Conflict Management and is currently in pursuit of his Master's Degree in Leadership. Jason lives in St. George, Ontario with his beautiful wife and two children.



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