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Business News of Monday, 7 June 2021


Four simple leadership practices to bring out the best of your team

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Being a leader today can be tough, there’s no doubt about it. The good news is that it can also be exceptionally rewarding.

One of the challenges I hear most often is that teams are so diverse today. The teams you lead could include remote workers, freelance workers and team members across multiple generations.

Just thinking about how to build cohesive and engaged teams in such a diverse and ever-changing workplace can be so overwhelming and even paralyzing. But once you know exactly where to focus your attention, strengthening your team — whatever its makeup — becomes a much more manageable and much less daunting task.

So where should you focus your attention to tap the best from your team? Leaders who achieve exceptional results focus on a few core practices that propel them and their teams forward faster and with less effort. Put these four at the top of your “must-do” list.

Set your leadership intentions

When was the last time you thought about the kind of leader you want to be? Do you know specifically the leadership traits you want to embody or the impact you want to have on those you lead? Leaders who bring out the best in their teams set clear leadership intentions; they consciously choose the behaviors, attitudes and energy they will bring to work each day. If you aren’t clear and committed to particular leadership practices, you’ll likely end up reacting to your environment and to what’s happening to you rather than responding in a way that helps your team thrive in the face of challenges.

Ask yourself daily:  What kind of leader will I be today? What type of energy will I bring to work with me today?  What will I stay focused on today?

Get fanatically focused

I have a question for you, and I want you to notice how long it takes you to answer: What does success look like for your team? Stop reading and give the question some thought, maybe even jot down your answer. How long did it take you to answer the question? Exceptional leaders are fanatically focused; they never lose sight of what their team is striving for — and they never let their team lose sight of it, either.

The trick to building team cohesion, especially in a diverse team, is to connect team members to their common goal. And by that, I don’t mean simply being a broken record and repeating your success statement over and over or putting it on your coffee mugs; I mean truly building ownership for the goal by creating a dialogue around it and ensuring that the goal is front and center in all decision-making, brainstorming and problem-solving. A goal is not just something to be aimed for; it is to be used to make the best choices in any given moment.

Turn off autopilot

Think of two things that you’re doing differently, on your own initiative, from what you were doing a month ago. If it was difficult to answer, then you may be in danger of running on autopilot. Remember Einstein’s famous quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?” When things get challenging, the leader often just tries to grind it out: put their head down, work harder, work longer hours and keep pushing themselves and their teams to do more of the same. The most common result is burnout for both the leader and their team. Success with much less struggle requires the leader to raise their head, look around and ask themselves and their team members, “What do we need to do differently?”

Fuel your team

You’re not going to get where you need to be if your team is running on empty, so knowing how to create the energy that will fuel your team should be at the top of your priority list. Occasional team celebrations and motivational events can provide spurts of energy, but they don’t have staying power. Energy that carries a team the furthest is created when members know they’re part of something special and feel good about themselves and one another.

Most leaders know it’s important to recognize the people they lead, but sometimes it’s easy to overlook opportunities to do so. Recognition comes in many forms and are all high-octane fuels:

Giving a simple and genuine “well done” or a high-five over a small success

Taking time to check in with your team members and ask questions, which shows you appreciate the value they bring and care about their well-being and career progression Including team members in decision-making by inviting input and expertise.

Focusing on your team member’s strengths by giving them opportunities for their unique gifts to shine.

Giving your team members chances to stretch themselves with initiatives and projects that align with their interests and skills.

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