Some things I think leaders should do

A couple of days ago, while surfing Hacker News, I saw this Quora article entitled “What are common mistakes that new or inexperienced managers make”.

Most of the answers are geared towards managers in companies, in particular, tech companies. However, as managers are leaders, I think that some points can also be extrapolated out as tips for leaders in general.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been involved in ramping up the volunteer council of the YLM program this year, and I was able to spend some time reflecting on different leadership styles.  Based on my personal experience in different roles at work and the groups that I volunteer with, the following points from the article resonated with me in particular.  I think are easily applicable, but not limited to, a volunteer setting. (These generally correspond with the order of points in the first answer in the article in case you want to read in more detail)

  • routinely giving constructive feedback and affirming team members in a timely manner
  • recognizing team members that perform well
  • knowing the strengths (and weaknesses) of your team members, and what their expectations are
  • push team members to further develop themselves
  • create opportunities, and actively seeking people that would fit
  • optimizing processes (lowering the time doing overhead and administrivia, increasing time doing productive work of value)
  • ability to say ‘no’ if the team cannot handle it
  • giving credit to the team members
  • taking blame for the team

Obviously this is not a comprehensive list of what leaders should do, but just a summary of points from the Quora answer that resonate with me.  In fact, I don’t think that any of the above points relate to the core task of a leader (guiding a team to accomplish a goal), but instead are things that differentiate a leader that just gets the job done with one that develops the team itself.

If you have any other thoughts about this list or leadership qualities in general, let me know in the comments.

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