Leading children or youths is one thing, but leading adults who are your age or older is a different matter. An entirely different approach is called for, but some of the principles are the same no matter what age you’re leading.
Maybe you are going to be training a group of adults for a specific vocation, or perhaps you have to organize a community consignment sale. Maybe you need to find volunteers for a work or church function. There are all kinds of situations where adults need to lead adults. Here are some keys to being an effective leader of your fellow adults.
Know Where You’re Going
No one wants to follow someone who has no idea where they’re going! Having a goal or vision is essential. It’s possible that it may evolve or change as you go forward – it’s good to be flexible, too – but when you start out, having a clear vision can inspire others to follow you. If you really believe in it and know it can be done, your enthusiasm tends to be infectious. People like to get on board with someone who knows where to steer the ship!
As noted above, it’s good to be flexible, and that’s where listening comes in. As you express your vision and goal, even if it’s just getting things done well and on time, it’s a good idea to listen to the input of others. Someone might point out something you hadn’t taken into consideration, or he or she might have a good point about your choice of venue.
Obviously, a good leader can’t please every person’s whim, but you can take people’s concerns into consideration. If everyone seems to be saying the same thing, maybe you should change your plans a bit. People tend to appreciate a leader who listens, even if it doesn’t always mean change.
In addition to a clear goal, you’ll need clear steps on how to reach that goal (or multiple goals). Explaining a “contagious” vision is great, but teaching people how you plan to realize that vision is important. It can seem unrealistic if you don’t explain your plan. Break it down into doable steps and present them to those in your group. A big part of this, of course, is being organized.
If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, no one else will, either! Make sure you are confident and certain of your plan and your goals. Sources agree that it’s not a good idea to be overly confident to the point that you don’t listen to anyone or heed their concerns, but confidence, like an exciting vision, is contagious. Be sure of yourself and what you want to accomplish.