Every employee wants a vision they can embrace and leaders they can believe in. It’s a tall order for those running the show – you not only need to determine the best strategy (or influence the strategy) for taking the company forward, you also need to establish trust, set an example, and be the change you want to see in your people.
Unfortunately, even when trying to do all the right things, using buzzword lingo in conversations with people or typical communication methods like memos leave people feeling uninspired and disconnected from their leaders – the very people they should be emulating with tone, culture, and behaviors.
What leaders do and say impacts everything from how people are managed and how projects and activities are delegated (or not) to overall employee engagement. As a leader – whether you’re a manager, director, or executive – looking at how you behave, interact with colleagues, or the way you support your people if they take a calculated risk can have profound effects on the rest of the business.
Opportunities For Leaders
Oftentimes we may think we know it all; we are leaders, after all. But, there are a number of opportunities for leaders to grow and be better at leading.
The first lies in breaking down silos. When you tear down the walls that separate your team from other teams for improved collaboration, or better connect your team’s role to the big picture, you can successfully keep little things from becoming bigger barriers to achieving your goals.
Establishing trust is another key opportunity when it comes to being a better leader. Gaining credibility with your people is priceless. One of the best ways to do that is to put your own humanity front and center. Share what you’re aware of, what you care about, and what matters to you. Make your employees feel you understand them and what they’re up against each day as they help you work toward achieving goals.
Once employees believe you are invested in their success and committed to delivering the same outcomes they are, you can bring out the best they have to give. In a trusting environment, employees are more receptive to new ideas and have an easier time managing change around duties, strategy, and how they live your brand.
And, as always, honest communication is a quality of effective leaders everywhere. Telling the truth and being transparent leads to people believing that you’re keeping their and the company’s best interests in mind. Remember, it’s OK not to have all the answers – be forthright about that fact. But have conviction about what you do know and the rest will follow. Be proactive, and put yourself and your expectations for your team out there for all to see. The result is a motivated team and true respect – from subordinates, peers, and your leaders.
Building a great leader/follower rapport takes time and dedication. It’s a process and a mindset that has to be adopted by all involved. However, the investment is worth it and yield dividends all along the way.
A to-do list for setting the tone from the top down
Use these tips to ensure your employees view leadership as credible and trustworthy:
- Authenticity Over Spin – Be honest and transparent with your employees. They want to know they are being told the truth, or as much of it as you’re able to deliver. This builds their belief in you as a leader, and in the company’s direction, regardless of whether times are tough or going well.
- Conviction – Employees need to feel you strongly believe in the effort along with your energy and passion if they are going to rally behind a cause. If you lack conviction, you can hardly expect your people to support what you’re asking them to do.
- Take The Heat, But Share The Glory – When the going gets tough, you need to be in the thick of it. Shoulder the responsibility for your team when things don’t go quite as planned. But, when things are good, step back and let your employees bask in the spotlight sometimes. By virtue of the fact that you lead the team that made something happen, your credit is there. That’s why you’re the leader. Let them enjoy the star power – they will appreciate the recognition and praise, which drives similar behavior going forward.
- Be Vulnerable First – People feel more comfortable taking risks if they see you doing it first. It helps diminish their fears. Show them it’s okay not to be right all the time, not to succeed in every endeavor. The key is to make it okay to try if the intention is right. If you do, then they can too. When you and your team venture out into uncharted waters with knowledge, confidence, and mutual respect, the potential gains are limitless.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Starting From The Top: The Root Of The Problem Could Be Frustrating Leadership Styles And Culture
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