(Photo courtesy of Stefan Wagner)

When you take on the challenge of becoming the leader of an organisation you’ll almost certainly be faced with things that need to change.  Depending on what state the organisation is in will influence whether you dictate, direct or delegate.

It’s important that a new leader defines the way forward so every member of the team has a clear vision of where they’re heading for.  If the organisation needs radical change in order to succeed, that can be very different vision to the one that the team have had in their sights.  In fact, if the company is struggling part of the problem is probably that the original vision has become so hazy that it’s impossible to see.

A new leader needs to engage the team if the vision is to be achieved – and exceeded.  Dictate and direct only take you so far.  Even delegation has limitations as the buck keeps coming back to you as the leader.

This means that you need to make the vision of success aspirational, but ultimately achievable.  Then invite creativity, raise the team’s heart rate and get them excited about it.  Push them to take up the challenge, coach to enable them to achieve it, act as cheer-leader; cajoling and shouting positive messages to keep them going.

This will get them started, but at some point you need to know how to step back and stop pushing.  There is a point at which you must let the team take responsibility for creating success.

If you don’t step back you become a barrier.  Because you’re always there checking performance, you become the block to great achievements.

Everyone in the business knows how to do their job better than the leader can do it for them, so empower them to get on with doing it.  If you engage the team in the vision of success, set them on the right track and then disengage yourself from the front of the pack they’ll undoubtedly exceed your expectations as well as their own!

The role of the leader is not to be a genius, but to be a genius maker giving every member of the team the freedom to succeed.  Think what that would look like for the organisation as a whole.