Some leaders like to claim there is a bit of a natural ability when it comes to solving problems as a leader. Sure, leaders have an instinctual reaction when it comes down to making big time decisions, but this instinct isn’t a natural “born with it” reaction. This snap-like reaction leaders have is a set of learned behaviors built over several years of failure and practice, watching themselves and others make mistakes or basic trial and error. Leaders have the ability to jump on decisions effortlessly and confidently, while the rest of us get itchy crawling skin just thinking about being the decision maker for big organizational matters.Successful #leadership is a set of learned behaviors. Start by implementing these 5 habits daily:Tweet This!
How do they do it? If you’re looking to exercise your own successful leadership skills, there are some things you must do every day to build those instincts. Take a look at five of our favorite best practices to get started.
Provide a Safe Place for Employees to Speak
The Harvard Business Review interviewed over 200 employees in varying levels and functions in an effort to discover why employees are afraid to speak up at work. Nearly half of the interviewed employees felt it was “not safe to speak up” when it comes to contributing creative ideas for improving products, processes or performance. The studies didn’t reveal clear details on exactly why employees felt this way, though based on some of the feedback in the survey, we can formulate some ideal solutions from a leader’s perspective.
Much of the feedback points to employees being worried their contributions won’t be well received by higher-ups for various reasons. As leaders, the solution starts with us. Be the conversation starter and encourage your employees to communicate their ideas and thoughts in a way that’s discrete and perhaps anonymous to provide that extra layer of self-preservation. When you present ideas or new projects to teams and departments, express that you’re accepting ideas after the meeting or privately via email. This both opens the conversation up to those who want to contribute without making anyone feel on the spot.
Communicate Expectations Effectively
Great leaders don’t leave their employees spinning and wondering what is expected of them or questioning if the direction they’re headed is right or wrong. Leaders are there to keep every employee and project on track. When you’re handing out assignments or tracking the progress, pull your teams back to the company mission and vision; tie these to every initiative. Establishing transparency when explaining expectations can make goal completion that much more effective. When your employees have a bottom line to drive toward, they can confidently carry out their projects knowing what is expected.
Learn more about adjusting your communication approach for more positive leadership conversations.
Create Thought-Provoking Work Environments
Think about what motivates you to be better at what you do every day. Settling and getting comfy are two things that will never help you push to be better. Keep your employees on their toes, question the way things are done and invite change. Inviting change to their environment can establish professional growth in the workplace. As creatures of habit, change often makes us uncomfortable. How to lead your teams through change:
- Create your plan, lock it in place.
- Identify your end goal, don’t change it.
- Communicate clearly who this change impacts and how.
- Identify specific team members that will carry out these initiatives.
- Discuss tasks and link them to company values.
- Set objectives and goals that are realistic and attainable - map these out on a physical calendar.
- Hold your teams accountable and be encouraging!
Enable your teams with tools they need to achieve success through change. Ask them how you can be a resource to them or what physical (or digital) tools they need to get their jobs done and allow them to explain why. If you’re not constantly thinking about how to solve, you’re not challenging your employees to learn, grow and think with you and the company.What are you doing to improve your leadership skills? Read these 5 habits done by successful #leaders every day:Tweet This!
Lead By Doing
This is a common one we hear, but it’s trickier than we think. As humans, we fall into habits without realizing it. As leaders, we set standards for our teams without remembering to set (or maintain) the same standards for ourselves. It was said earlier, but it is important to reiterate: leaders are not born, they are made. Potential leaders learn from what they see and there are statistics that show that not all leadership development tactics are working. All eyes are on the leader. If you set expectations, but fall short, how likely is it for your employees to take these expectations seriously? Lead by example. Don’t wait for your employees to observe and catch on to your short comings, then deal with assessing the damages once performance has fallen company-wide. In short, be consistent with your achievements and high-quality approach to outcomes.
Learn how to cultivate a culture of growth within your company.
Hold Yourself Accountable to Others
Saying you’re there for your employees is one thing. Being accountable for their success and professional journey is another. You can mentor your employees, but what are you actively doing to ensure their progress is going somewhere? Performance reviews are a great time to speak with individual employees about not only your expectations for them, but ask what they expect of you.
Do your employees take performance reviews seriously? Here’s why they don’t, and how to fix it.
Successful leaders encourage their colleagues to share feedback on their management approaches and effectiveness instead of the managers conducting feedback and communication all the time. Leaders are working toward softening the lines between management and employee to help create open communication and collaborative work. This also greatly reduces employees feeling scared to approach higher-ups and puts everyone on the same playing field - like a team should function.
Positive, effective leaders don’t just appear without practicing leadership skills and learning from experience. Exercise your leadership skills by building healthy habits to create that instinct. Are there habits you’re forming that you see making improvements to your leadership and teamwork in tandem? Share them with us! @InspireSoftware. Need an extra boost in your leadership coaching? Inspire Software works to supercharge your company with a transparent look into your goals, teams and the leaders of today and tomorrow. Contact us to see how it works.