6 Strategies for Becoming an Effective Leader
May 06, 2020
Hi! It's Karen, from Karen Vincent Solutions.
I have seen many instances where someone is promoted into a leadership position and given a new title, however, they are not provided with any guidance and support about how to be a good leader. Often, the skills that make someone successful at their job which results in a promotion into a leadership position, are significantly different than the skills necessary to be a successful leader.
What is important for all of us in leadership positions to remember is that we need our teams. We cannot do it all alone and therefore, we need our teams to be energized, engaged and efficient so that we can reach our goals. Sometimes I have seen leaders feel threatened if they have an employee who really shines or has a skill set they do not have. This does not make sense to me.
I have always wanted to give every employee on my team an opportunity to shine and to grow. I believe that “great leaders make great leaders”. I believe that I am a better leader when I have a team that shines and I have always considered it a very important part of my role to acknowledge the strengths and the successes of my teams, as well as to work to maintain an engaged and happy workforce. I want to learn from those with whom I work just as much as I hope they learn from me.
It takes time to support a team and this can be challenging when there are many other demands placed on leaders every day, however, the payoff is worth it. Creating teams that are engaged, productive and who feel taken care should be of the utmost importance for any leader. Below are some strategies for creating teams that are energized and engaged.
6 strategies for effective leadership:
- Give everyone opportunities to lead. Regardless of someone’s title, everyone can be a leader. Give all employees an opportunity to lead others in some way. This could be presenting something in a staff meeting, training new staff, sharing a success story, managing the agenda for a meeting, facilitating a team building activity, planning a luncheon or other office activity or overseeing the completion of a project. Everyone wants to feel like they matter, and this is a great way of showing employees that they are important and valued.
- Give credit. As leaders, when we have a success it is almost always not because of only the work we have done. We are successful because of the work and efforts of our larger team. I have seen too many times, where someone has a “win” at work, and they forget to acknowledge those who did the bulk of the work or who supported them in getting their “win”. As a leader, if my team was taking care of certain tasks every day, which allowed me to turn my focus elsewhere and focus on something that became a company “win”, my team would get the credit for that. I could not have done what I did, unless they were keeping everything else running smoothly. Always acknowledge the team’s role in each new success.
- Acknowledge those “behind the scenes”. While we always want to praise individual strengths and efforts, we should also be looking for instances where employees support one another or support the greater good of the team. Often, individuals work behind the scenes in roles that are critical to the overall success of an organization, but which are not in the spotlight. Their efforts and contributions should not go unnoticed or unrecognized since they are vital to the success of the team and the organization. Take time to acknowledge them and let them know that they are seen and valued.
- Accept feedback. Don’t create an environment where people are afraid to give their honest opinion about something. The best ideas don’t have to, and if fact often don’t come from the leader. Those who are doing the day to day work have valuable insights and experiences that can result in ideas that make an organization stronger and better. How you invite this feedback will vary based on your organization’s set up. Perhaps you do online, confidential surveys once or twice per year or have a suggestion / feedback box. Maybe you go to staff meetings and dedicate time to check in and get feedback. Sometimes, when logistically possible, those in leadership hold “office hours” when staff can come check in and talk about anything that is on their mind. What is most important is that those giving the feedback feel heard and appreciated, even if you cannot execute every good suggestion.
- Create team rituals. The sky is the limit with this one. Having team rituals can deepen the overall team culture. This could be a monthly luncheon that celebrates birthdays or an annual holiday celebration. This could be a team building event or a fun email that gets sent out at the end of each week. Be a role model for this and welcome ideas and initiation by others to do this as well (#1 – Give everyone opportunities to lead). When employees feel part of something bigger than themselves, they tend to focus more on the team or organization, rather than just their own personal gains.
- Respect work / life balance. Respect that people have lives outside of work and understand that they will likely show up better at work, if they have something outside of work which brings them joy. Of course there may be times when you need to ask more of your team due to a big project launching or a big deadline approaching, however, if you respect their work/life balance, they will likely not object at all if needing to work more for a period of time. My experience is that during those times when someone really needs a team to rally, they will do so, and they will be energized by it. However, if you expect this all the time, or if you make people feel guilty for leaving on time most days, they may grow resentful or even burn out.
Think about how you can incorporate one or more of these suggestions with your team. Also, if you liked this blog post, check out my post 5 Strategies for Creating a Positive Team Culture.
Live your best Boss Lady life!
Karen Vincent Solutions
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