Successful leaders have significant impact, not only on the people they oversee but also the organisation as a whole. This is because teams who work with these leaders seem to have more job satisfaction and, in turn, contribute more. This generally means that the company’s performance is positively affected, as is the general atmosphere at the workplace.

If I were to think about the best leaders I have encountered throughout my working life, I would say that great leaders are those that seek to nurture and bring out the best in the people around them. So, I usually look at those around these leaders to check if they are empowered, if they are growing in their careers and if they are motivated and contributing to the organisation at their maximum potential.

Now, I challenge you to look around you too, and if you notice that your team is disengaged and are not advancing in their work, it might be time for you to question yourself. Sometimes, the disengagement might not be so obvious, so you could ask yourself the following questions to keep yourself in check:

  • Has at least one of your ideas been criticised in the past month?
  • Have you spent enough time planning the career progression of your team?
  • Have you had any social conversations (non-work related) with your team members in the past week?
  • Is your team not afraid to fail?
  • Is your team able to provide coherent replies if you ask them for the team’s top priorities for the coming year?

If you have answered yes to the above questions, you are on the right track but if not, you might need to re-evaluate your leadership strategy.

Incorporating good leadership strategies is essential to motivate your team to accomplish their objectives. The following are some elements that you could use:

1. Build a strong relationship with your team

Effective leaders ensure they create an open line of communication with team members, and more often than not, this is achieved through the leader’s own honesty and transparency. This is then cascaded down into the modus operandi of the team.

It is essential for a leader to customise their approach to suit each situation and team member. This requires effort and time by the leader, who basically needs to understand how to get through to the team members, based on individual preferences. This approach will ensure that a sound relationship is built, based on trust, which in turn will improve the overall morale of the team.

2. Encourage personal and professional growth

You should be invested in your team’s success and growth. If they are performing well and they are advancing, then you are doing a good job.

Great mentors are enablers. They provide their employees with challenging opportunities and guide them as needed. This empowers employees and provides them with job satisfaction, which allows them to flourish and reach their full potential.

It is amazing what employees can and will accomplish if they are given the right opportunities and tools (be it hard or soft skills). It may be a challenging task for a leader to risk letting go, and delegating may be hard for some, but I encourage you to delegate tasks, encourage innovation and freedom and believe in your employees.

3. Be positive

Setbacks are inevitable and part of every job. Well, if everything ran smoothly, we would be jobless, so embracing setbacks and having a positive attitude towards dealing with them will ensure that your team will take such setbacks in their stride and keep going.

The way a leader deals with a setback says a lot about their leadership skills. Leaders who tackle negative situations in a positive manner are able to think more clearly and provide direction in a more efficient manner, keeping the team on track.

4. Coach your employees

Show your team members what is required and do not just tell them. Successful leaders guide team members toward a more collaborative manner. This helps keep your team engaged as they feel that they have choices in front of them and they are not doing things just to please you. You need to avoid a situation in which they are doing things just because you are the boss. If you manage to achieve this, then people will take a great deal of ownership over the direction of the project as they will feel that they actually have a say and that their input will have an impact on the final outcome.

5. Set clear goals and expectations

As I have mentioned in my previous articles, setting clear expectations is essential for employee success. Effective leaders also take the time to explain why a particular job is important and how it fits into the company’s ultimate mission and vision. This ensures that employees understand their purpose in the bigger picture and keeps everyone on track.

6. Give feedback…

Provide constant, honest feedback. This will ensure that people feel comfortable in working in an environment where transparency and authentic, straightforward communication is encouraged.  Your team members should know what you think about their work and where they need to improve. This will encourage individual and team growth. Moreover, it is important to provide constructive feedback on an ongoing basis and not only through yearly performance reviews. Also, make sure that you highlight employee accomplishments, and if they achieve something great, let them know! Acknowledging successes, also by linking them to their direct impact on the business, is a great boost to individual and staff motivation.

7. … and ask for feedback

Constantly. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but it will keep you in check. Ask your mentors, peers and your team to give you feedback and actually act on the areas you feel you need to improve on. I have heard people in senior management roles state, “I am like this, you will have to accept me.” This unfortunately limits your own growth and self-improvement, and the team will feel this.

No matter the role you occupy, you may consider leadership coaching. This can help you discover areas where you need improvement and also help you capitalise on your strengths. You should also ensure you have mentors who you are comfortable discussing everything with. These will keep you in line and act as a sounding board with whom you can bounce off challenging situations. Keeping yourself open to learning things about yourself is a key element to your own growth and success as a leader.

8. Be open to new ideas

This also means being open and accepting that change is inevitable. Accept that everything in the world we are living in evolves and so we need to be open to new ideas and alternative ways of thinking. Moreover, involve your team members in actually solving an issue, don’t just give the answer but encourage creative thinking. This is something I mention often when I deliver a management session – allow your team members to use their brain. When employees feel like they can comfortably bring new ideas to the table then real innovation, engagement and magic will truly happen.

I hope that you will find the above points useful and that they will give you the opportunity to reflect on your leadership style. You must always keep in mind that being a good leader does not come naturally to everyone, however with the right attitude it is something anyone can master and improve upon.

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