Being a ‘Smart’ Young Leader for a Team
Given that you’re well within your adolescent age, you might be having a bit of trouble with your team members not being able to take you seriously.
Chalk it up to traditional age roles or a lack of confidence on your part. Whatever it may be, you know that now’s the time to roll up those sleeves and make some changes. Even though you’re young, you’re not without talent or intellect. You have what it takes to be a leader. All you have to do is communicate this message to your team.
Here’s how you go about it.
⦁ Always Be Prepared
First, look at what your role in the company requires of you. For example, you’re meant to lead your team on a project that has to be completed within the deadline. Next, check the company culture. Will your team members work well under a strong hand, or will they need a gentler, more informal touch? These simple details will give you an outline on how you’re supposed to approach your team.
Listen more than you speak. Ask for everyone’s opinion, and try to bring everyone in, even those who are dragging their feet. Make sure that your desk is nearby so you can keep an eye on the progress, and be present in case someone needs help. You have to be the go-to person if they want something done.
⦁ Seek Out their Hidden Potential
In order to be a smart leader, you have to develop an idea of other people’s strengths and weaknesses are. For example, let’s say you’re working on a marketing project. A marketing intern may know everything there is to know about the field, but they might excel more at researching. Delegate the task of finding target demographics and trending approaches to them. This way, they’ll know you’re paying attention to the smallest details, and will respect you for that as well.
⦁ Avoid Negativity in the Workplace
Conflict resolution, off-days and breaks are crucial. If you think your team has been working too hard, give them some time off. If someone’s working too hard, get some responsibilities off their plate. If there’s a conflict, handle it with neutrality but have it solved. A negative environment breeds negativity. Don’t let your team members get caught in it and don’t ignore it. Otherwise you’ll be the bad guy.
⦁ Praise their Progress
There’s nothing worse than dismissing someone’s hard work or achievements in the workplace by saying, “you’re just doing your job. Why should you be praised for that?” (Yes, it happens!) If someone is putting their all into a project and getting results, praise them for that. Show them that you’re seeing their hard work and it’s not all for nothing.
⦁ Keep Learning
Let’s say you’re a young leader that’s working with older colleagues. Use this opportunity to build a connection with them. If you’re stuck on a problem, ask them how they would solve it. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and don’t take it to heart if someone points out a problem. Instead, be eager in your response and ask them for a solution. Then delegate all such tasks in the future to them.
Keep Working Hard to Be a Leader!
Participate in youth leadership development programs hosted by organizations such as YWAF and implement what you learn in your daily work life.
You’ll become a much better leader if you open yourself to improvement and learning!