How to be an even better leader than you already are (& increase team performance in the process)
For some of us it happened quick, others might have had some time to grow into it and yet others again never thought they would be one, until they were. What am I talking about? Being a leader. The head of a team. Managing a workforce.
So many business owners got thrown into the leadership role. They had this great idea for a company, it takes off and from one day to the next (at least seemingly) they have a whole team in place and they are supposed to be this kickass, inspirational, highly efficient leader.
But … leading a team isn’t that easy, is it?
Sure purely having a team, having people perform tasks and getting somewhat by might be easy. But not creating this overachieving, motivated, ‘coming up with own ideas’- team that we were envisioning once we knew that this company of ours is going to be successful.
Luckily enough being a great leader isn’t something that you have to be born as but it’s a set of skills that can be acquired and practiced. Surely for some it comes more natural, others need to work on it a little harder, but it surely is possible for everyone. Given that you want it and you are willing to put in the work. Unfortunately the greatest functioning teams on earth weren’t just born out of luck or coincidence but hard and focused work.
There are 101 things you can do to become a better leader: from more logistical things, to being a good example, to having team building exercises. Over the next few minutes you will read about the 3 shifts that I find the most important when it comes to having the greatest impact on your team’s performance (& with that creating more efficiency, more motivation and better results):
Give and acknowledge ownership
Not just randomly distributing tasks to get them off your to do list but actively giving work and with that the ownership of it to your team members. Having them make their own decisions, bringing up own ideas and sharing their point of view on the subject matter (however big or small it might be).
Only then can you hold them accountable, actively track results and understand their strengths and weaknesses. As a by-product you will create a sense of responsibility and a feeling of contribution to the goals of the company which then boosters the self-esteem of the person within your organization.
In order for that to work you need to share your vision, your goals for your company and actively integrate your team members into this vision. Making sure that at all times they understand how their part in the team contributes to the bigger picture.
2. Become a great communicator
Communication is key in almost any area of life, this certainly holds true for your team communication. Poor team communication not only leads to inefficiency but also to businesses failing, because information falls through the cracks and things get lost.
In order to prevent this and create the best communication possible, you need to become a great observer as well as a great listener. Qualities of a great leader are not only their own communication skills as a speaker but especially as a listener, someone who sees when things start to turn before they are going completely wrong, someone who can ‘read’ the nuances of conversations.
If you feel like team communication is the biggest issue (stealing you time and killing money) make sure to check out this post about two simple shifts to crack your team’s communication
3. Give credit where credit belongs
Of course everyone’s productivity and efficiency is boosted differently but simply said: We all thrive off of positive affirmation, being acknowledged for our efforts. Of hearing an ‘Awesome work!’ or just a genuine ‘Thank you’ for when we jumped in and helped out.
Especially in bigger corporates it is not uncommon to see leadership take credit for the work of others - that shouldn’t be the case in your company: Give credit where it’s due.
Being egoless and generous with your praise fosters a healthy work culture and inspires others to give their best, too which in turn then boosts productivity.
“It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” - John Wooden
If you want to go a step further than just a verbal acknowledgement, think about performance based rewards or incentive programs. It’s easy to see that people are motivated to give their best when there is a reason to do so and this doesn't solely have to be a monetary one. Other rewards could be: time off, paid vacation, vouchers to gyms etc.
There we go! Implementing these 3 tips and generally being aware of what your leadership style looks like, what you pay attention to and what your team needs will heavily impact your team and team’s performance.
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