We’ve talked on the Artisan Blog about the difference between a Boss and a Leader. But even if you are not responsible for managing a team, there are always things you can do to improve your leadership skills:

  • Solve Problems—It’s easy to see when things are going wrong and easier still to pin the blame on someone. Great leaders not only see the problems in context, they have the creativity and confidence to offer solutions. Instead of getting upset that things are not going perfectly, think of some suggestions before you talk to your team.
  • Be a Mentor—You are a leader because you know what you’re doing and people are willing to follow you. Make sure that they know why you want a project to be done a certain way and that they are an integral part of the project’s success. Help them see the big picture along with you and they will be invested in it, too.
  • Get Your Hands Dirty—Great leaders have to be able to delegate, but they also have to be willing to get down in the trenches and do their part when the going gets tough.
  • Use your Emotional Intelligence—As frustrated as you might be in difficult situations if you build up your team rather than tearing them down, they will work harder and better now and in the future. If you’re angry about how things are going, try to channel it into energizing the process, rather than berating your team.
  • Learn and Grow—As Artisan Founder Jamie Douraghy mentioned earlier this week, we are never done learning from mentors or from those we are mentoring. Stay open and ready to learn from everyone around you, no matter their job title.

Leadership is not always easy—you have to take responsibility for the success or failure of a project. However, if you enjoy lifelong learning, helping others, and the satisfaction of having done your very best no matter the result, leadership is a worthy commitment.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative