The longer you are involved with a particular group, the more likely you are to be invited to be in leadership. This not only applies to your work life but also to church and other places you volunteer. Before you agree to a leading role, however, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself to ensure you are ready to take it on.
Do You Have Time for Additional Responsibility?
Time management is an essential skill all leaders need. You have likely been a part of groups, however, in which the leader is frequently unprepared or unreachable. Therefore, the first question you need to ask yourself is whether you have time to add the extra obligations that inevitably come with taking on a leadership role.
You can only determine this, of course, if you know exactly what the position entails. Talk to others who have held it to find out how many new tasks you need to make space for on your calendar:
- Scheduling, planning, and conducting meetings
- Organizing and delegating group tasks
- Mediating conflicts between members
- Serving as a liaison with other groups (which may involve attending those meetings)
Do You Have the Necessary Skills To Lead the Group?
Some people are fantastic at behind-the-scenes work. They know exactly where their strengths lie, and they are happy to help however they can. It's a good idea for the majority of the people in any group to have these qualities.
Just because you're a great group member, however, does not automatically mean you'll enjoy leading it. Leadership often requires specific skills you don't often get a chance to use as a member of the group. For example, all group members should have good communication skills, but the leader is more likely to need to be a strong public speaker. From leading team meetings to reporting to the organization at large, you may be called upon to give presentations. If you don't already have or don't particularly want to develop this skill, leadership may not be the best fit for you.
What Is Your Leadership Style?
Unless the opportunity you are facing is the first leadership position you've tried, you probably have a good idea of your management personality. Almost everyone has a preferred leadership style, and it's important to discern whether yours is a good fit for the group you've been invited to take charge of. If it is, then your transition to leading the group is likely to go smoothly. If your style doesn't really work for the group, though, expect a bumpy road ahead.
The best leaders, of course, are those who can be flexible. For example, you may prefer laissez-faire leadership to give members the freedom to make decisions and run with them. If your group needs more guidance, though, you should be prepared to engage in a more transformational or coaching style.
Can You Motivate the Group?
Ideally, people volunteer or join groups because they already have an interest in working toward the team's goals. No matter how enthusiastic they are, though, everyone needs a little inspiration once in a while. Leaders don't often have the luxury of letting their motivation wane. You not only must safeguard your own interest but also help others maintain their momentum as well. Before saying yes to a leadership role, make sure you have the energy you will need to keep others going.
While it is noble to accept the responsibility of leading a group, team or committee, it's important to take inventory of your readiness before you agree to it. The honest answers to these questions can help you determine how effective you will be in the position.