How are you leading? What could you do better to improve your team’s performance and level of satisfaction?
Check out these 10 strategies for improving your own leadership and see how they impact your success.
- Listen. Listening is number one for a reason. Employees tell us this is what they want most from their leaders. Listening shows that you value your people. Your staff wants you to hear their ideas so you can appreciate their contribution, skills and talent. Work on being a better listener.
- Ask questions. Asking questions gets answers, clarification and position. You learn a lot from asking questions; it lessens the resistance you might get once you start talking. Think about asking open-ended questions that gauge where others stand such as “why do you prefer that approach?”, “How would you handle that problem?” and “What are the benefits for us if we do it that way?”
- Check in. Last month was great. Where are things today? Is everyone on your team still on track? Asking, “How are we doing?” is a great way to invite your team to give feedback on your progress.
- Offer opportunities. One of the best ways to reward hard work, outstanding performance and above and beyond effort is to offer new opportunities or responsibilities. You can’t always give raises or promotions, especially mid-year, but a new assignment, the chance to sit in on a higher-level meeting, or invite someone in for a brainstorming session can mean a lot to your employees.
- Set expectations upfront. Set a standard and let others know what it is. Talk about goals and expectations frequently. Let the team know where they stand in achieving their goals. Consistently articulate your values to your employees and it will help guide their behaviors.
- Co-create. We’ve all heard the expression, “there is no ‘I’ in team.” Invite the team to be a part of problem solving and decision making whenever possible. Your ideas may be met with resistance, but their ideas will be met with enthusiasm and commitment. Even when management sends down a directive, your team can still collaborate on how to implement the decision.
- Get personal. Taking a healthy (but not intrusive) interest in the successes and personal challenges of your staff members will help you be more on target in responding to their needs, ability to handle work stresses and your timing in delegating new responsibilities. Show empathy to employees who are taking care of an ill parent or child, or recently lost a beloved family dog. Congratulate team members on personal achievements like buying their first home, earning a degree or running a 10K – it shows you care about them as people, and not just want they can contribute to your department’s success.
- Give feedback. Most managers struggle when giving candid feedback to their people, especially since most employees overestimate their value as a contributor. Be firm, not harsh in giving feedback and balance being direct with showing compassion. People need to know where they stand so they can work to improve, but they also need to know you care.
- Address issues quickly. Problems that go unaddressed wear a team down and can make you appear a weak leader. You don’t have to solve the problems, but you do need to make sure they get addressed appropriately and effectively. When your employees risk telling you what is getting in the way, they look to you to strategize solutions. (Refer to item 8, above).
- Trust others and be trustworthy. Trust is critical for team success. Trust speeds up implementation and productivity. When trust is present people don’t second- guess decisions or look for hidden agendas. Where there is trust, there is safety and team members are more willing to engage in productive conflict together to get to a better decision.
Leadership in Action
- Pick one or two areas to focus on two for the next month.
- Strategize opportunities and methods for demonstrating your two new behaviors.
- Make sure you are getting the results you seek; put a date on your calendar to check in with yourself and evaluate how you are doing.
Good luck turbocharging your team!