Leadership is a hot topic. A quick search on Amazon for books about leadership returns over 190,000 results. There are countless TED Talks addressing leadership, and it is not uncommon for organizations to conduct leadership seminars and retreats for their management teams.
When it comes to being an effective leader, there is no magic formula. Increasing diversity within the workplace also means leadership is not one size fits all. So how do today’s leaders develop high performing, engaged teams?
1. Grant Trust
As leaders, it is not uncommon to have many balls in the air. It is unrealistic to hold yourself accountable for every detail of your many deliverables. By empowering your team to own the details, you’re not only showing you trust them to prioritize and make critical decisions, you’re sending the message that they are a valuable member of the team.
2. Remove Barriers
I often tell my team I am happy to move rocks and bring water. Once you have empowered someone to own a deliverable, you must remain available to offer assistance as needed. Allowing opportunities for your team to raise their hand when they’ve encountered an obstacle is critical to their success. Asking for help is not admitting failure and giving your team the opportunity to do so is showing you care about their success.
3. Be the Example
My dad has been a small business owner for most of my life. He and I often joke about how he wishes his employees would do as he says, not as he does. Reality is, however, your team will look to you for their cues on how to behave. If you are habitually a few minutes late to meetings, checking your phone while talking to others or pushing out delivery dates for your commitments it shouldn’t surprise you if your team starts to do the same. As a leader, it is crucial for you to model the behaviors you want to see in your team. Be a few minutes early to meetings, be fully present when interacting with others and do what you say you’re going to do.
4. Provide Growth Opportunities
Knowing the strengths of your team allows you to divvy up work and capitalize on their sweet spots. In return, it is important to know what areas your team wants to grow their skills and capabilities. By affording the opportunities to participate in projects or assignments that stretch them, you’re telling your team you care enough to invest in them and their future.
5. Be Intentional
Being an effective leader doesn’t just happen by chance. By building time into your schedule to check in with your team members individually, you’re telling them they are important and what they do matters. Commit to this time with the members of your team on a consistent and scheduled basis and keep it. While this time can be informal, it should have a steady format, allowing your team the platform to have open dialogue with you at regular intervals.
Being a savvy leader is so much more than task management. Taking steps to invest in your team leads to strong, competent individuals supporting you and your organization. Continually recognizing and investing in your team not only provides opportunities for the team and its leader, but for the organization as a whole.
Want to implement these 5 tips into your leadership practices, but don’t know where to start? Contact me today: firstname.lastname@example.org