Developing independence through leadership and training
Although you need to take the needs of your team into account, it’s also important that you are able to function effectively on your own and not use them as a crutch. You need to be self-motivated and able to make decisions on your own, without needing to be supported all the time. You may get executive coaching to help you with this, but it’s also important that you pass it on to your team.
Once again, it’s a question of finding the right balance. People who are too independent are often perceived as aloof and disinterested by their teammates – divorced from the concerns of the rest of the team and not much fun to interact with socially. It’s true that no-one likes being told what to do, but you need to remember that you do not exist in a vacuum and that it’s important to balance your own interests and concerns with those of your team. This is the key to effective team building.
However, certain people take this to the other extreme and become too reliant on those around them and too easily influenced by others. This makes them very difficult to manage, as they will be unable to perform even the simplest tasks without being instructed to do so and supervised every step of the way by their manager.
The level of independence necessary for each person will largely depend on their role. For example, a salesman who is out on the road for long periods of time will need to be very independent by nature, but would still need to build up interpersonal relationships within, say, the accounts department, who’ll need to know what they’re invoicing. A test of emotional intelligence can help establish whether someone’s current level of independence fits their role and whether any additional leadership and training is required.
A good way for managers and leaders to develop their staff’s independence is to gradually delegate more and more responsibilities to them and assign them more problem-solving tasks. This will slowly build up their confidence and reduce the amount of supervision they require. Leadership development programmes can help you improve your understanding of how to delegate effectively.
To find out more about how emotional intelligence can transform the way you approach team development, just visit www.highforce.co.uk/freeguide, where you’ll be able to obtain a free copy of my new guide, “15 easy-to-learn, practical and dynamic secrets to increase your success”.