Be­come a Bet­ter Leader

Enterprise - - Contents -

As a leader, it’s your job to guide your team to­wards ac­com­plish­ing spe­cific goals. You might suc­cess­fully reach those goals, but could your lead­er­ship still use some im­prove­ment? Are you able to re­late to your team? Do you help your team mem­bers re­late to one another? Do you sim­ply or­ga­nize and di­rect, or do you in­flu­ence and in­spire? Here are sometips to help you eval­u­ate and im­prove your ef­fec­tive­ness as a leader.

Con­nect and com­mu­ni­cate

Lead­ing a group of peo­ple re­quires a mu­tual sense of trust and un­der­stand­ing be­tween leader and team mem­bers. As a first step to­ward that goal, lead­ers should learn to con­nect.

Build­ing a real per­sonal con­nec­tion with your team­mates is vi­tal to de­vel­op­ing the shared trust nec­es­sary to build a strong cul­ture of ac­count­abil­ity and ex­cep­tional per­for­mance. With that cul­ture in place, the team can achieve a suc­cess­ful busi­ness, a happy team and a ful­filled leader.

Be­ing a “more hu­man” leader re­quires pos­i­tiv­ity, pur­pose, em­pa­thy, com­pas­sion, hu­mil­ity and love. These key traits will put you on the road to gen­uine con­nec­tions with the mem­bers of your team.

Lead­ers also need to be aware of the way they com­mu­ni­cate. They need to un­der­stand how to not only clearly com­mu­ni­cate their par­tic­u­lar di­rec­tions, but how to do it in a way that makes sense to the peo­ple they’re talk­ing to.

Fo­cus on the pos­i­tives

As much as lead­ers wish that their team’s day-to-day oper­a­tions could run smoothly all the time, they’re bound to run into the oc­ca­sional ob­sta­cle. Whether it’s a mi­nor mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion or a ma­jor er­ror, the way a leader han­dles a neg­a­tive sit­u­a­tion says a lot about his or her lead­er­ship skills. Ex­perts rec­om­mend fo­cus­ing on the good in any set of cir­cum­stances.

Look at three pos­i­tive things about a prob­lem be­fore you iden­tify what makes it dis­sat­is­fy­ing. The more you look at the pos­i­tives in a prob­lem, the more pos­i­tively peo­ple re­act with one another.

Af­ter in­di­vid­u­als point out things they’re happy with in a prob­lem­atic sit­u­a­tion, they don’t feel so strongly about the prob­lem and are bet­ter able to think clearly and solve it. The same is true when a leader needs to im­prove his or her strat­egy. If you or a team mem­ber no­tices a par­tic­u­lar course of ac­tion you’ve taken that just isn’t work­ing, fig­ure out some things you’ve done in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions that have worked. Lead­ers can learn to fo­cus on the pos­i­tive by shift­ing from ‘ critic to cheer­leader’ of their teams.

This strat­egy in­volves mov­ing from a fo­cus on what is go­ing wrong to what is go­ing right. Shin­ing a light on is­sues and prob­lems is an im­por­tant part of trans­for­ma­tion, but it must not be­come a leader’s de­fault set­ting. An im­por­tant mantra is, ‘ Don’t let per­fect get in the way of bet­ter.’

Show, don’t tell

Show­ing oth­ers what is re­quired is bet­ter than sim­ply telling them. Lead­ers should coach their team mem­bers to­ward a more col­lab­o­ra­tive, com­mit­ted work en­vi­ron­ment — with­out coax­ing them.

If you are con­trol­ling peo­ple to do cer­tain things in cer­tain ways, you’re not go­ing to get the level of en­gage­ment that you’re look­ing for. Coach­ing is about help­ing the peo­ple you lead rec­og­nize the choices they have in front of them. Peo­ple will then take a great deal of own­er­ship over the di­rec­tion of the pro­ject.

Some ques­tions lead­ers can ask them­selves to ad­dress this point, in­clude: · Am I be­ing a teacher and not just

a “teller”? · Am I build­ing trust and re­spect,

rather than rul­ing by fear? · Am I con­nect­ing my team­mates’ work to a higher com­mon pur­pose that gives their work mean­ing? · Am I us­ing the right met­rics to

mea­sure and mo­ti­vate my team? · Am I en­abling my team to ful­fill

their great­est po­ten­tial?

Ask for feed­back

An hon­est self-as­sess­ment of your own lead­er­ship can be dif­fi­cult. This is why feed­back from men­tors, fel­low pro­fes­sion­als and team mem­bers is in­valu­able in eval­u­at­ing your ef­fec­tive­ness. Talk­ing to friends and peers of­ten brings needed per­spec­tive on your lead­er­ship ap­proach and style. Lead­er­ship coach­ing can also help you dis­cover ar­eas that need im­prove­ment. A pro­fes­sional who helps you de­velop a plan to achieve your lead­er­ship goals can be more mo­ti­va­tional than books and sem­i­nars alone.

Coach­ing al­lows lead­ers to make the con­nec­tion and ap­ply changes in a real-life set­ting. You need time to in­te­grate, process and re­flect, and un­less you go through those steps,

you won’t have sus­tain­able change.

What’s your mo­ti­va­tion?

If a per­son in a lead­er­ship po­si­tion views what he or she is do­ing as “just a job,” it’s go­ing to show. In or­der to be an ef­fec­tive leader, you need to have the right mo­ti­va­tion. Is it the money or the pres­tige you care about, or do you sin­cerely want to in­spire peo­ple to do their best? Lead­ers need to re­ally ask them­selves why they want to lead.

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