The best leaders in the world all have one thing in common: They seek to become better leaders. Those of us in leadership roles must continuously improve our skills or we will become ineffective influencers of our teams.
John Maxwell points out that, “Everything rises and falls on leadership”. This statement is so profoundly true. If you think about all the major successes and failures from history, they can be traced back to one thing: Leadership – good or bad. As such, it is vital that leaders seek to improve their leadership habits so they can lead their teams well.
Leading well is the proof of your ability to positively influence followers.
What actions can you take to ensure you are leading well? Start by improving in these three areas and you will see an increase in your overall leadership effectiveness:
1. Listen Well – It all starts with actively listening to our followers. Active listening means that we are listening with the intent of understanding.
Put away your smart phone, turn off the computer monitor in the office, silence the desk phone and give your follower your undivided attention. By reducing the distractions, you are telling the follower that they are important, and you are genuinely ready to listen to understand what they are communicating.
When we actively listen to those we lead, we convey their importance to us and the team. Your followers need to feel that they belong and are valued by you.
Active listening is the gateway to empathy.
Check out https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/ActiveListening.htm for some great techniques to increase your active listening skills.
2. Coach Well – Great coaches believe in their people by placing them in positions to use their natural talents and abilities to help the team win. Coaching well involves spending time with team members by providing instruction and feedback with encouragement.
As a coach, it is imperative for you to provide instruction. The difference between a trainer and a leader is how they deliver the instruction.
Trainers will show someone how to do a task and maybe observe them performing it. Leaders show the task, observe the performance and provide encouraging feedback to reinforce motivation.
Feedback should always be presented with the spirit of growth, from both you (giving the feedback) and your follower (receiving the feedback). This is best accomplished if your feedback is more positive than negative.
There are times for negative feedback, but if that is all you are prone to give, then your followers will become disillusioned and stop receiving it.
By providing mostly positive feedback, your followers will better listen to and accept the negative when it is necessary.
For some great coaching tips, visit https://www.bizlibrary.com/article/7-coaching-tips-managers-leaders/
3. Serve Well – Every great leader is a servant to their followers. Intentionally serving our team simply means we actively pursue ways to serve them. Serving our team goes beyond providing tools, teaching and places of employment.
Serving your followers does not have to include elaborate things like catering lunch or giving rewards for accomplishing goals. Serving well means you look for small daily ways to show your appreciation for them.
Roll your sleeves up and help your followers complete a task. As you do, talk about the things that matter most to them like their family, hobbies or career aspirations. Make the conversation about them as you help them complete a task and you will be amazed at how well they respond to your leadership.
Serving well means providing genuine encouragement, support through rough periods, and celebrating successes. When followers know their leader cares deeply for them through acts of service, they are motivated to perform their best for their leader.
Check out a great post from Ken Blanchard for more insight into Serving Well at https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/4875282/posts/2142
Those looking to increase their leadership influence should focus on Listening Well, Coaching Well and Serving Well. Increasing these skills will ultimately help you to Lead Well.
My hope is that this will help you on your leadership journey.