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What Makes Great Leaders: Tips from Britt Trama

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Britt Trama knows a thing or two about how to lead a team and be an effective team member.  She serves as HIGOL’s Business Manager, keeping all systems and processes flowing.

Britt worked for Walmart at the corporate level, both as a database administrator and a business analyst.  I asked her about what makes a great leader rather than the manager everyone dreads?.

How do you actually lead a team?

I also asked how new leaders in middle management positions can leverage their environment for better results?

Lastly I asked how do you lead effectively and while simultaneously growing as a person?  Is it possible to grow right alongside the company you serve?

Leadership Tips From Britt

Tip #1: Lead a team by building relationships.

The key to leadership is building relationships.

It’s about listening more than speaking.

It’s understanding different kinds of people with different needs, interests, cultures, origins, and experiences, and listening in a non-judgmental way so you can think about how those things shape them as individuals.

Put yourself in their shoes, understand what they want, and let them know that you’re on their side and want to help them succeed.  Listening is the beginning of leading.

This might mean holding one-on-one meetings or just taking some time to chat with your team as people, not just colleagues.

Tip #2: Lead a Team by tailoring your communication to each person.

When you understand the people you work with, you can adjust your communication so that they understand you and perform at their best.

You may have people on your team who need more direct communication and people who need indirect communication. Some people like praise and recognition, and others would be embarrassed if you were to recognize them at the team meeting.

Understand who’s on the team, what’s important to them, what’s going on in their lives, what motivates them, and what they need from you as a manager.  This is actually how you lead a team.

Tip #3: Lead a team by setting clear expectations.

Clear expectations make a more effective team!

I learned this during my time as an administrator for Walmart, because Walmart does an amazing job of connecting all the pieces together. I was always very clear on what was expected from me and my team because I knew how our work fit into the big picture.

Help your team understand how they fit into the overall mission. Look at the company’s goals and ask “How can we support this? What’s our part in this?”.  This is how you lead a team.

The other reason you need to be super clear about expectations is because if you aren’t clear, they don’t know where their lane is. You haven’t given them the tools and resources to do their jobs effectively, so you’ll have to keep intervening, which actually leads to micromanaging.

At the end of the day, you can’t get upset if they crossed the line, because you never defined what the line is. Be clear!

Tip #4: Protect your team.

The way I see it, the role of the manager is to protect your team.

In order for your team to do their best work, you need to shield them from interruptions. This might mean blocking distractions from other teams, eliminating projects that aren’t a priority, and knocking unnecessary commitments off the schedule.

It’s your job to filter out the distractions so that the team can focus on their priorities.

Tip #5: Lead a team by finding a solution.  Stop complaining.

Complaining about a problem takes up a lot of time and mental energy and can actually be costly to an organization because instead of doing your job, you’re complaining.

Instead of thinking “I don’t have time to find a real solution,” realize that you actually do have time. It’s your job as a leader to find those solutions and save your team the time and energy of working around a problem.

You’re spending the time either way. Are you going to spend it complaining or finding the solution?

Tip #6: Lead a team by improving yourself first.

Lead yourself first and learn how to show up for other people. I love to read great books about leadership, management, and business that help me grow as a manager and as a person.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Britt’s Book List

1. It’s Okay to Be the Boss: The Step-By-Step Guide to Becoming The Manager Your Employees Need by Bruce Tulgan

2. Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want From Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters

3. The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

4. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

Your situation is always changing because hopefully, your company is growing. Make personal growth a part of your everyday life!  Yes, you can grow right along with your company.

I really enjoyed this conversation! Britt has great ideas and practical advice about leadership and managing a successful team.

If you have leadership challenges on your team and would like some help in tackling them, please reach out to us here and let’s have a conversation.

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