I've read many books on leadership, trying to grasp the one secret to becoming a good leader that many are happy to follow. I found it:
Step aside and ask your team.
Yes, it is that simple.
Don't be the duck in the picture.
As a leader, you are in charge of a group of people. If this is not the case, you are a freelancer. Each of your people is an intelligent dude that wakes up every morning and wants to make a dent in this world.
Your guys think.
Your guys dream.
Your guys have opinions.
Don't be the duck in the picture. If you want to be a good leader, sit in the back and observe. Listen to your guys: 50% of them have an idea how to solve today's problem. Let them expose their plan, help the discussion with "what questions." Make them talk.
A "what question" demands a specific answer: what happens if I turn that screw? What do we do if the door doesn't open?
Once you ask the "what question," shut up and listen. Let your guys elaborate on the answers. If you don't like where they are going, ask more questions.
Of course, you have your idea where you want to go. More often than not, I'm sure you have your plan on how to get there either.
If you are a bit like me, you ask the black mirror: why can't they do what I ask? Don't worry; we've all been there — every Tuesday and Thursday evening.
Telling people what to do and how to do it is micromanagement.
It gets some things done, but it destroys commitment, involvement, and team spirit. It turns professionals into machines.
I don't like that, you neither.
When you let your team list many options, you get in the position to choose. In the end, you are the leader; yours is the responsibility; hence yours is the choice.
So choose, but choose one of the options that your team produced. This way, you ensure at least one fully committed operative on that solution.
The One Secret to Leadership is truly the art of asking questions to guide your team to craft a solution that you share and trust.
And that is important because you must believe in the solution that your team will implement so that you are ready to stand by it and by your guys.
As any good leader does.