No leader is perfect, and being able to consider your own shortcomings will help you perform better in managing your team. In an era of open-plan offices, flat organisational structures and hack days for staff to explore new ways of doing business, just how much has the role of the traditional team leader changed? Keep reading for 6 leadership strategies that work!

The attributes that make a leader great haven’t changed, but the conversation may have. Vulnerability, heart-centred leadership and using your intuition are still key. Experts agree leaders should give more weight to listening and understanding the motivations of others. Here are six more tips for leaders wanting to get the most out of their team:

1. Know your purpose, know your people

Have clearly defined goals that your team can buy into. Then, take some time to get to know your team members.

Often managers enter the role thinking people are all the same, or that there is just no time to have a coffee or lunch with someone.

Get to know the people in your team first and find out what motivates them. Then you will all work more effectively.

2. I do have enough time

Too busy? Not enough strategic thinking time? This is often an excuse, coming from poor decision-making, and being reactive rather than proactive.

You might be doing too much. Narrow your focus on where you can make the most impact in your “zone of genius”, and work with your team so they can do the same. Make clear decisions about what is important and act on them.

3. Be self-aware

You should be able to analyse yourself thoroughly before turning the spotlight onto others. The first thing you have to do is lead yourself before you can contemplate leading anyone else.

What motivates you? What are your goals? What are your values? Can you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses?

No leader is perfect, but being able to pinpoint your shortcomings can actually help you and, ultimately, your team.

Have the awareness to know if there is a gap in your capabilities and how you want to fill that. Ask yourself, is it something you want to develop yourself, or can you bring in someone to complement you?

4. Ask questions – including the hard ones

Contemporary leaders need to understand that they aren’t the ones with all the answers, but they’re the ones with all the questions.

Employees may do what they are told to, but when they devise their own answers to a problem, this takes their engagement to a new level.

When we answer a question with insight, different parts of our brain are involved. If we have resolved something ourselves, we are emotionally attached to it and much more committed to remember it and apply it in future. Why tell people when you can ask? It leads to accountability and enthusiasm.

That questioning extends to harder ones about expectations and issues such as non-performance in a team. Real leaders must be courageous and not innately fear conflict. Conversations can lead to discovery and pathways forward.

5. Continue learning and pass on skills

Always learn, so you have more to offer. How are the people around you going to learn and develop otherwise? Also, grow your future leaders. Do yourself out of a job if need be, and do something else yourself.

Teach your employees about the mistakes you made, and give them those leadership skills. Some people will feel threatened by that, but real leaders won’t; they’ll be able to let that go.

6. Bad examples can be good

Good leaders can leave an indelible mark on the teams they manage; unfortunately, so can bad ones. After analysing data from 25,000 employees across the world in 2018, employee engagement analytics firm TINYpulse found that 40 per cent of employees who don’t rate their supervisor’s performance highly had interviewed for a new job in the three months before that.

It can be useful to draw on negative experiences to consider specific behaviours worth avoiding when in a management role.

I’m sure we can all think of a leader we’ve worked closely with, who we thought was a poor leader and wasn’t equipped to be in the role that person was in. Not listening, interrupting or talking over people, not respecting the expertise of others in significant roles and belittling people – perhaps not deliberately, but through their own lack of confidence.

The net result of such sustained behaviour results in unengaged employees, those thinking about leaving, or people who simply move on. Positive shared experiences lead to shared conversations, and that leads to trust and connection. Something we all need more of in this modern world – at home, and at work. This is equally true for leaders wanting to build motivated, productive, and engaged workforces.

Leadership strategies sourced from our friends at InTheBlack and the Legends at DGL Accountants.

Here at DGL, we are fortunate to have some great leaders sharing their knowledge and insight in all aspects of the business. If you would like to improve your leadership skills or have a chat about the leaders in your workplace, get in touch today!

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