Like many people I have been on many courses and programmes about leadership and now facilitate my own. But often, the lessons we learn best are those we learn from experience.

1. Leadership is a team sport

It is relatively easy to see how effective your leadership is by the number of people you have with you. Whether you are leading a team to complete a task, or whether you are gaining acceptance of a new idea, you cannot lead alone. Simply being a good team member can demonstrate strong leadership, support for the person in charge is an important leadership attribute.

2. Its no longer about you

Nobody owes you anything just because you are now “in charge”. It is important that you focus on the goal, support the team and recognise that you are there for the good of the group or organisation that you are part of.

3. Embrace differences to “complete the jigsaw”

If you are a big picture person you will need detailed people in your team and vice-versa. A team will not function if everyone is the same. Imagine being in a group of extroverts, or alternatively a group of intraverts. Surrounding yourself with good people is not a threat to  your leadership, but an asset you can utilise. Embrace difference in all its contexts and the team will benefit.

4. Saying no is not being selfish, its being reliable

Be realistic about what you can achieve. (This is the hardest lesson for me) The team will function better if you delegate to others; it not only decreases your workload, but creates a greater sense of satisfaction for team members.

5. Know when to say goodbye

We all have a use-by date in any project or job. Know when yours is coming up and leave before its too late. Have succession in place so moving on will be an easy transition for all involved