Contrary to popular belief, businesses don’t just depend on products, services, and customers. They also rely on a strong personnel team, particularly their leadership, to navigate changing consumer trends and industry updates, as well as encourage the entire organization to produce its best work. Below, find the ways that your leadership abilities can impact your business, for better or for worse, and ways to improve and continue to grow your skills.
Motivation inspires innovation
Leaders have the innate ability to rally the troops to work together toward a shared goal, and employees typically look to them during times of chaos to do just that. This ability to motivate their team is a crucial factor in a business’s success; research shows that a motivated team is more innovative and efficient, which helps overall business output. Without motivation, valuable workers will be less productive or could even consider looking for other jobs. Motivation comes from leadership that understands worker needs and interests, then incentivizes them to work proficiently or creates a culture of competitive teamwork.
Delegation increases output
A true leader isn’t one who micromanages and jumps in to complete projects. Instead, they know how to step back and let their teams do the work they’re best at. The ability to delegate to team members, build their trust, and create comprehensive teams will ultimately help diversify and increase the organization’s overall production capabilities. It’s also a reflection of a leader’s trust in their employees and their ability to manage their people most effectively. Some managers will tend to find that when taking a step back and giving employees their own responsibility, they tend to take more ownership of their tasks and produce better work.
Communication builds trust
Leaders tend to build more trust and better relationships with their teams when they regularly speak and listen to their teams and deliver honest organizational news and personal insights. In contrast, a lack of communication, which too many executives believe is a show of strength, can make employees fear for the security of the company and their jobs, lead to misunderstanding on projects. This in turn can cause individuals to feel less invested in the organization’s success. Open communication and trust is critical to employee productivity and buy-in.
How to improve your leadership skills
If you struggle with these skills or feel your team isn’t being led effectively, don’t panic. There are several ways to boost your management and leadership abilities. Here are just a few tips, supported by studies and business executives.
- Understand your style
Everyone has a specific leadership style and understanding it is a helpful tool in reflecting on specific ways to improve. Take a leadership quiz to determine your style, strengths, and weaknesses. For example, if you’re an authoritative leader, you’re likely good at setting long-term goals, but may not be great at giving individualized guidance. It may be beneficial for you to spend more time creating a roadmap to success and regularly checking in with your team. Use this leadership quiz to learn where you can alter your style to better suit your team’s and company’s needs, and be a stronger leader.
- Listen to your team
Sometimes, it can be difficult to be objective when reviewing your own strengths and weaknesses. One of the best ways to improve is to get feedback from your direct reports and use their critiques as constructive ways to alter your management style. Those reporting to you are the ones who experience your management every day and can offer the most insight into what they need to be different. Plus, this additional dialogue will help your team feel valued and part of the larger organization.
In fact, a recent Salesforce study found that, “Employees are more productive when they feel they belong, are heard, and are able to be their authentic self at work.” And, this is backed by real success; listening is a skill that many business leaders have used to gain the trust and respect of their teams. Don’t be afraid to send a survey or set up meetings with your team to hear their constructive criticism and grow your skills.
- Embrace change
For a business to be successful, it has to be able to adapt to ever-evolving technology and consumer trends. It’s critical that its leaders exhibit adaptability themselves to help usher in necessary changes.
Successful executives have spoken about this characteristic as an important factor in business leaders several times. As Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners Robert F. Smith said, “The pace of change in the world today demands originality….Convention won’t cut it anymore. To succeed, you need to step up and be original, to overcome fear and not escape it.” Don’t be afraid to listen to new ideas and try alternative methods to help move your team into the future as a leader in the industry.
Leaders need to be ever-evolving to grow with their team and usher in organization-wide advancements. Use these strategies to develop your own skillset and be the best leader you can be!