When I rejoined a company I had spent two years away from, I faced a disaster as the leader of an engineering team. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and the entire company was plagued with support calls after the release of the product during our busiest time of the year. The development team was working extremely long hours to stabilise the product, and it was a very tiring process for both myself and the team. Despite it being such a troubling time, we managed to come out of it without losing any team members or customers.
The experience taught me that it’s the challenges that shape you as a leader. Everyone faces these unexpected moments in their careers. Sometimes these moments are thrust upon us, but they help to define who we are as individuals and as a team. These moments have helped me realise that you should always be open to everything that comes your way. By treating everything as a learning experience and being receptive to what it is trying to teach you, it will allow you to grow as an individual.
How transformational leaders guide their teams
Having a top-down view of teams can be effective for achieving a short-term goal, but ultimately, it’s more beneficial for leaders to integrate with the team and work towards the company’s vision and strategy together. You may care about what you do, but the question is: how do you encourage the same level of engagement from your team?
Leaders need to know their teams on a personal level. Having a close-knit relationship with your team allows you to align the individual’s personal goals with company goals. By doing so, team members become more engaged in their work and feel like they are a part of the solution, rather than being told what to do.
For me, a transformational leader is someone who can adapt to any situation. It is someone that can understand what people are going through and support them to the best of their ability. By positively challenging their team members, leaders encourage them to grow as individuals and collectively.
At ELMO, we encourage people to challenge the norm and push beyond what’s holding them back. We support this by having training programs in different areas. For example, in our R&D department, we have weekly sessions where someone can choose a topic they’re interested in or passionate about and present it to the entire team. Everyone gets their chance to present, and it allows employees to hone their speaking skills.
Ultimately, strong leadership is about continually learning and encouraging your team to do the same by offering the right support and tools for success.