A great company or team culture – one that’s productive, positive and growth-oriented – starts with a great leader.
Becoming a leader that your team members want to follow is not just a simple prescriptive or formulaic check of the box. This will require you to focus on your team, be reliable to show up, intentional with your actions, and consistent in being present.
“Corporate culture isn’t forced, it is developed. Communication is daily and open. Everyone understands the vision and goals of the organization, and everyone has input on how they can be improved”Amy Rees Anderson, the founder of REES Capital
The outcome of this, she continues, is a business model and infrastructure of “high morale, employee retention and sustainable long-term success.”
If you want to be a better leader, you may only need to make a few tweaks to how you work with your team. Use these action steps to do exactly that, allowing you to stay focused on being a great leader for your team.
Be smart with delegation
The instinct for many leaders is to dictate how employees address their workloads. More often than not, this can turn into micro-management which is a detriment to the team’s performance. Not to mention, it keeps you tied up with tasks that don’t belong on your plate. Instead of handing them off and trusting your team to get it done, you give too much instruction and then check-in more than is necessary.
When the team is united through common goals that build a sense of purpose, cohesion and resolve, however, you can focus on being a leader and your team flourishes. Instead of micro-managing, set goals as a team and trust your employees to achieve those goals using the skills they were hired for.
Be a better leader: Stay on top of progress by holding weekly 1-on-1 meetings. This not only allows you to stay involved and connected with employees, but gives employees a chance to update you regularly. If needed, you can also create a delegation checklist for yourself. It will keep you focused on handing off work effectively and with greater peace of mind.
Give feedback and reinforcement
In order to produce great work on a routine basis, team members need to know their contributions are noticed and valued. As the leader, the onus is on you to express that—and it benefits you to do so.
“Positive feedback triggers a reward signal in the brain, reinforcing the action that caused it, and making it more likely to be repeated in the future“Tali Sharot
The neuroscientist’s research, published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences Journal, also shows that positive information is mentally encoded quicker than negative. This means that employee affirmation can drive performance. Use this opportunity to be a better leader, allowing your employees to grow alongside you.
Be a better leader: An easy way to give feedback regularly is to use a specific tool, like 15Five. With scheduled times each week to send feedback, like on Friday afternoon, you’re more likely to do it. This also encourages employees to do the same with one another, driving great camaraderie among the team.
Practice thorough communication
You need to consistently and clearly communicate with employees if you want to maintain the productivity and morale of your team. This effective communication allows you to keep a pulse on goals, vision, and team culture. Whether you sit 1-on-1 with employees regularly or simply stay present during the workday, make yourself available to employees as often as possible.
Consistent and clear communication also ensures that you understand how various team members work. At the same time, it will allow you to inspire them with your words and actions. Both are key factors in being a great leader.
“Knowing your audience is as important as the message you’re delivering. Communication informs, persuades, guides and assures, as well as inspires,” said Gary Burnison, the author of The Twelve Attributes of Leadership.
Be a better leader: If you have a hard time communicating, put reminders on your calendar or schedule regular meetings to hold you accountable. Don’t forget to use a team communication tool like Hubgets to stay in contact, even as you travel or get bogged down with high-level projects. It’s a great way to quickly and easily check-in with employees and stay in the loop with team-wide conversations about on-going projects and challenges.
Focus on being a better leader
When you’re focused on being a dependable, consistent and influential leader for your team, the results are a productive staff.
The role of management can feel like a heavy burden sometimes, but if you strive to approach the challenge of being a great leader with these tactics and ideas at the forefront, you’ll be successful.