Leadership in a pressured market place can be challenging. Organisations need to drive higher profits, create sustainability and increase market share. We as leaders need to work with our people to navigate change, create alignment, measure results, engage customers, drive process and ultimately to deliver results.
The Foundation: 10 Leadership Practices
The foundation to inspirational leadership is trust, credibility and vulnerability. When we have this we have the foundation to accountability, ownership and performance[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Let’s review 10 Leadership Practices that can help you make a difference:
1. Be clear on what you need from each person.
How you need it and why you need it. Communicate clearly and ensure your expectations are understood and agreed.
2. Have positive intent.
When we come from a positive place and hold our judgements, our people are immediately more connected and feel safe.
3. Treat your people with respect, even if they are different to you.
This is always a hard one, sometimes we can dismiss an idea or person because they are different to us or have a different idea to ours. Always seek to understand, reflect on how you have shown respect and if you would like to be treated the way you treat others.
4. Follow through on your commitments.
How often do we make commitments to our team and then forget or hope they might forget because we are too busy or because we might need courage to deliver? As a leader you are always being watched, you set the tone for your team. When you don’t follow-through on your commitments you won’t be trusted and people won’t believe you. That in turn will drive low engagement and could result in high turnover.
5. Be honest and kind.
Being honest and kind could seem weak and soft. These two traits are fundamental in your role as leader. Honesty and kindness allow people to connect with you. Honesty with your people on how they can be successful, what the business needs to achieve, how the business is performing etc. Showing kindness is choosing to care for the people around you. Our ability to build connection is a strength and allows us to build engagement. Kindness does not mean I need to be a best friend, or I am “soft”. It means I show care. I create a safe place to drive engagement and performance.
6. Drive accountability.
Driving accountability is not finger pointing or shifting blame. Driving accountability starts with the courage to help people see their world for what it is and providing feedback. It is sharing the behaviours, situation or issue that is creating a challenging impact. It is also owning your part in the situation and helping your team members understand their role too. Then it’s all about finding a solution that can be used to solve the challenge. Finally, it’s about the measure of follow through. Driving accountability can be the most challenging area as we are often working with our team’s vulnerabilities that create a barrier for them being able to see and own accountability. Have patience, be strong, connect, follow-through.
7. Listening to understand.
Listening to understand can be very challenging for us as leaders. We often have ideas we want to cover with our team and ask questions with our mind focused on our wants. The key is to listen to understand, what are they actually saying and thinking. Listening to understand and seeking feedback and clarity allows you to:
- Hold judgement
- Challenge your understanding
- Create context
- Build credibility
- Foster connection
8. Understand their “heart count”.
Do you really know what makes your people tick? Are you clear on their dreams, hopes and desires in their role and career? Do you know their challenges and fears? Do you work with them to inspire them in their role to achieve what they can for themselves? This is critical and without this focus you will only be getting what is required vs a full commitment.
9. Make time for your people.
I can’t stress how often leaders don’t make time for their direct reports (their people). They are so busy focussing on tasks and measures they fail to spend valuable coaching and development time. If you are caught in this “vortex” of no time: Challenge yourself to make time (only you are in control) To be discipled with yourself and align your priorities. In time leadership we talk about managing two things in time: a) yourself and b) your priorities. The questions is; are your people your priority? do they feel valued? If you are not making them your priority you will always be chasing your tail, never have time, not have a well-developed team who can deliver results efficiently. Lastly you run the risk of low to no engagement.
10. Be clear on the measures of success.
What gets measured gets done. When we are clear on our team’s measures of success they are clear on what success look like. These measures need to be aligned to our business measures of success. Each person needs to know and understand their contribution to the business being successful.
I love the concept that challenges: “Will this activity or task make our boat go faster?” In business today we don’t get measured on the nice to haves, we get measured on business results.
As a leader make sure you are clear on your priorities and then cascade these down to your people. Always ask yourself, will what we are doing right now make our boat go faster, make our team more successful, drive business results, positivity impact our customers, align to our strategy.
It starts with you. As a leader you are the driver. It starts with your ability to lead yourself first and them your team and your business.
At Ignite Purpose we use a simple ownership framework to help you as a leader challenge yourself to be more effective:
The 4Ds Model:
Read your environment, your team. Understand your inherent thinking, reactions and bias and most importantly your triggers that create ineffective leadership behaviours.
Learn to control your quick responses. The quick things you would say, your irritation, the throw away comments, your behaviours that challenge your ability to be effective. This does not mean you are not “authentic”, it means you are mindful to think before acting. It can be as simple as rolling your eyes, your tone, being dismissive, becoming irritated because you have had a lack of sleep.
This is your effective leadership behaviour being practiced. The patience you might need to display. The kindness you might need to weave in your response. The courage you need to take to have that conversation in a measured and impactful way that keeps their self-esteem and your credibility. This is where your impact matters as a leader. If you can be deliberate yet authentic you will win hearts and minds.
Follow-through is always the most challenges part of being a good leader. This needs to be the determination with which you practice the art of leadership. The choice to lead, finding kindness and avoiding judgement. Only you can make the difference.
In closing these are only a few thoughts on inspirational leadership. If you choose to practice these you could be a real difference maker in your world, your people’s world and for your organisation.
Why choose Ignite Purpose?
When you work relentlessly with your team to unlock the WHY, not only will your team consistently deliver on organisational requirements they will be relentless in their determination and engagement. Remember they “buy the WHY”, so communication, authenticity and leading verses managing are critical success elements.
We at Ignite Purpose are passionate about helping you unlock potential in your team and look forward to supporting you in not only achieving business results but in developing a culture and workplace that realises the value of your people and the importance of the WHY factor, from the CEO to your team and ultimately the customer you serve.