Effective leadership shows not only when things are going well but also, and perhaps even more so, when times get rough. Good leaders are admired (rather than feared) by others, motivating them to work more and make more meaningful contributions to the organisation’s success. Leadership does not imply working alone to achieve a goal. In truth, leadership entails inspiring and motivating others to collaborate toward a common goal. Today’s leaders must possess optimal leadership performance techniques to inspire engagement, transformation, innovation, and long-term success.
If you’re now wondering whether your leadership style is indeed optimal, let’s hope you’ll find out by the end of this blog!
You are a leader, so be the best you can be!
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of a leader is a person who leads or commands a group, organisation, or country. Whether or not you think of yourself as a leader, if you are a Practice Manager, an Operations Director, or a business owner you are definitely a leader.
As a leader, you spend most of your time in contact with your team and as such, you have the direct power to influence and shape their future. You may be surprised to read that you spend roughly 64% of your waking hours influencing your team (and this includes your weekends). This is a crucial reason why you should try to be the best leader you can be.
However, when have you last taken the time to reflect on your leadership style and considered your leadership skills? If it has been a while, you may want to take this quick survey to learn a bit more about yourself as a leader.
Create an environment that brings out the best in others
For me, a great leader is a person who shows the way by inspiring and awakening enthusiasm in others to take positive actions – a ‘servant’ leader.
We frequently undervalue the crucial function of inspiration in a culture that is fixated on evaluating aptitude and skill. By enabling us to rise above our everyday experiences and constraints, inspiration prompts us to fresh possibilities. People’s perception of their abilities changes when inspired, moving them from apathy to potential.
A servant leader puts the needs of others, especially team members, above their own by putting ‘servant first’ principles into practice. Such leaders respect other people’s viewpoints, provide them with the assistance they need to achieve their professional and personal goals, include them in decision-making when appropriate, and foster collaboration among team members. This results in higher engagement, greater trust, and stronger connections with team members and other stakeholders. Increased innovation may result from it as well.
According to Seth Godin, you can’t force someone to change, but you can utilise your leadership abilities to create an environment that encourages your team to embrace change voluntarily. Your team’s self-esteem and work ethic will rise if you foster a safe workplace with excellent opportunities. Employees who feel free to make mistakes without retaliation or animosity have greater self-esteem and pride in their work, find satisfaction in what they do, are more creative, and collaborate with others more successfully.
Make use of your leadership skills to provide people with independence and confidence. You hired them, so put your faith in them!
There are different approaches to leadership. For example, there is the carrot and stick, or the coaching approach. To ‘motivate’ staff, leaders frequently use the carrot vs the stick strategy in which the carrot is a reward for compliance, and the stick is a consequence for non-compliance. According to a Yale psychologist, Paul Marciano, 40 years of research have shown that typical reward and recognition systems are not only ineffective, but also lower general morale in the workplace. Although the carrot and stick approach is an out-of-date strategy that has never proven to be effective and doesn’t create an environment where individuals choose to take new actions with a lasting effect, businesses keep investing in it, wasting time and money. It could be due to everyone being familiar with it; most, if not all, have grown up with it, however, we don’t recommend using it, if you wish to run a successful business.
Instead, we suggest exploring a coaching approach to leadership, where collaboration, support, and direction are all characteristics of this method. Instead of supplying solutions on a silver platter, coaching leaders guide their teams through goals and difficulties to enable them to find answers for themselves and bring out the best versions of themselves. Making errors or ‘failing’ is seen as part of the learning process and even encouraged. The emotional bond between the leader and the team is also significantly emphasised.
The coaching approach requires an investment of time. The process of reaching satisfactory results may take longer at the outset, however it creates superior outcomes in the long-term.
The importance of feedback
To get the coaching approach right, a leader’s skill set must include the ability to give and receive feedback. This is a skill that project managers, team leaders, teachers, and coaches develop over the course of their careers. It is critical to give and receive feedback to effectively share knowledge between teams and organisations. Constructive feedback is a powerful tool for fostering a positive work atmosphere, increasing productivity and engagement, and improving performance. Done correctly, feedback has had a favourable impact on communication, team member engagement, and team outcomes across various industries.
As Craig Chappelow and Cindy McCauley from the Center for Creative Leadership attest in the Harvard Business Review “Feedback — both positive and negative — is essential to helping managers enhance their best qualities and address their worst so they can excel at leading”.
With all of this in mind, what will you be doing to ensure that you become the best leader possible? Perhaps you could make time for reflection and self-inquiry, engage with a coach or a mentor, go on a specific leadership, coaching or communications course, and maybe even test different approaches with the team to see what works best for everyone?
Everyone has an inherent ability to lead. However, if you aren’t leading yourself first, you naturally can’t lead others. Turn your focus inward. Learn more about yourself so that you can take charge of your life, your course, and your decisions. Leadership will follow.
Let us know your next steps on your journey to becoming a better leader.
Here are some questions to reflect on:
- Thinking about the best leader you have ever met, what qualities do they have that make them a great leader?
- What are your values around leadership style?
- What do you think will make you a better leader?
- What will you do to inspire and awaken enthusiasm in your team to take positive actions?
If you are a member of our Master Practitioners Club, here are some of the relevant resources that you have access to:
- Effective Leadership
- How to engage your team in transforming your business
- How to succeed in the role of a Practice Manager & beyond
- The grass is greener where you water it: growing & nurturing a top team with Anna Butcher
- Decision making & how to get your ideas across
- Why a Thinking Environment? with Rebecca Timmins
- Listening as a Superpower – Taming the Advice Beast Within! with Rebecca Timmins
- Clarity Questions for Master Practitioners
- About Me
- Communication Style Self-Assessment
- Development & Training Plan
- Skills Matrix
- Time to Think Meeting Agenda & Resources
If you are not a member already why not consider joining us now !