There is a talent gap in leadership positions across numerous industries. According to the State of Leadership Development by Brandon Hall, a shocking 71 percent of companies do not feel confident in their leaders’ abilities to bring the business into the future. For professionals aspiring to work towards high leadership positions within their own brands, now is the time to capitalize on their personal development so they feel prepared to fill this gap. While ACU’s Online Master of Science in Organizational Development provides a strong cornerstone, those who want to succeed should also focus on nurturing these traits.
Step 1. Lead by example
Let your team members see that you hold yourself to the same, or even higher, standards than you hold them. You want them to know that you are not just a leader, you are also a member of the team.
This includes demonstrating a willingness to take on unpleasant tasks. Passing these jobs off to those under you and never participating yourself can easily feed resentment, and hinder team cohesion. Put in the hours and the work that you expect your team to follow.
Step 2. Communicate effectively
Communication will make or break any team. As a leader, you need to think carefully about what you say to your team members and how your words will inspire or deflate them.
- Use praise freely, but make sure it always carries weight. Sending out praise for every possible thing will cheapen your words. At the same time, you want to make an effort to ‘catch’ your team’s successes so you let them know that you recognize their contributions.
- Look for the team members that go above and beyond. To encourage creativity within your team, praise those who use outside-the-box thinking and who otherwise demonstrate real potential for success.
- Be slow and strategic with criticism. You must remember that your team members are human, which means mistakes will occasionally happen. Consider what you hope you accomplish with your criticism and make that clear to your subordinates when do you do need to offer correction.
As you build communication within your team, focus on encouraging and facilitating productivity. Make it easy for people to accomplish tasks by outlining goals, demonstrating ideas, and making yourself available for advice throughout the project.
Step 3. Take advantage of mentorship
Mentoring should go in both directions. Find your own mentor to help you continue to learn and grow within your role.
Similarly, you want to mentor your own subordinates. Instead of just speaking to people who come to your office for advice, you want to set up purposeful meetings with your mentees. Schedule regular lunches or similar meetings to provide them with a regular source of advice and time for discussion.
Not only will mentoring purposefully help you nurture team loyalty and relationships, but it will also help your mentees feel more confident in their jobs. They will work more productively, which will also reflect well on you.
Step 4. Never stop learning
As a leader, you want to always look for ways to improve. Look at your own past mistakes and successes. Consider how different projects went and what you should have done differently.
You can also look at others in the industry. See what made their teams a success or failure and how you can put that insight to work for your own group.
You want to find opportunities for continued learning. Stay abreast of the latest developments in your industry so that you can continue to implement best practices. Look for chances to learn new skills that will help you do your own job better or even advance within the company.
Step 5. Let team members know you have their back
You want your team members to know that they can trust you. To nurture this trust, take responsibility and apologize for your own failings.
If something does go wrong on a project, do not throw team members under the proverbial bus. Work together as a team to find a way to correct any errors and move forward as a group. Times may arise when team members need to be let go, but you want to make sure that you have made every effort to work with them and improve their performance first.
Teams leaders have an incredible amount of influence over the success of a team. Improving your leadership skills can boost performance and help everyone accomplish their goals. To learn more about how to develop your leadership skills, contact us at 855-219-7300 or acu.edu/online.