The job of a leader is challenging, especially since it comes with the responsibility of success but also the well-being of the teams of people in the organization. Here are some tips on inspiring your team.
Don’t be bossy. Being a leader is different than being a boss. Any one can assign work and punish people who don’t complete it. Leadership requires a high level of responsibility and personal involvement in the projects one oversees. Leadership is more about influence than authority.
Make your team feel safe. No goal is protected entirely from failure. It can happen by chance or human error. Allow your team to feel safe failing with you. If something goes wrong don’t immediately blame the team or point fingers about specific mistakes.
Motivate and encourage people. Use positive and encouraging feedback. Help team members see that their ideas matter. Encourage them to develop their talents. Make sure to note when their work has improved or impresses you.
Good leaders are typically comfortable with who they are. This means they are able to do what needs doing and say what needs saying with confidence, even if that means sometimes breaking outside the current paradigm.
This conviction is what gives leaders the ability to create confidence in others. They are enabled to clearly communicate their vision to others around them and motivate them to their own successes which in turn leads to success for the organization.
A good leader is focused on what is best for the organization, unconditionally. They don’t need to prove themselves in the way a new member of the organization might feel the need to. The leader’s vision for the company always comes before their own self-interest.
While good leaders are confident decision makers and allows their inner voice to guide them, they should always be available for consultation and suggestions. Seeing things from as many perspective as possible while maintaining their vision is the best way to achieve it.
What does leadership mean exactly? The word can conjure many images in the mind.
A political leader. Someone chasing a cause they are passionate about or that is personal to them.
Someone exploring the unknown and the very new. Someone cutting a path through the metaphorical jungle to bring the rest of us along with them.
An executive, CEO or business owner developing their company, their strategies, products and services to beat out the competition.
Leaders are almost always helping themselves, but they cannot be a leader if they are not also helping others do the right things. They set the direction and tone. They build inspirational visions for people to get behind. They create something never before seen.
Leaders also need to be the compass and use their skills in guidance to help others reach the correct destination in a ethical and fair way.
A compelling vision provides the foundation for leadership. But it’s leaders’ ability to motivate and inspire people that helps them deliver that vision.
While leaders with a compelling vision provide the keystone for leadership, it is a leader’s ability to motivate people and inspire people that assist them in delivering that vision.
As an example: when you begin a new project, likely you will have lots of energy for it. This makes it easy to win support at first. It can be difficult to find ways to maintain your vision and that energy after that new project magic fades. Good leaders know this and they work hard continuously through the life of the project to help people with their needs and goals to keep the energy up.
To do this, leaders link two expectations. That hard work leads to good results and that good results lead to attractive rewards or incentives.
This motivates people to continue to work hard to achieve the goals and dreams they have for themselves.
What does it take to be considered an emerging leader? What are these people doing that sets them apart, not just in the eyes of their current leaders, but also their peers?
How do emerging leaders become viewed as such by their colleagues and superiors?
It isn’t about being a yes-person or company person or a thankless workhorse. It is about influence. It’s about doing things that make people feel good about the work when you are on the team.
They should choose to follow you, your advice and suggestions when offered. Better yet, become the kind of person from whom people seek suggestions and advice.
Influential employees identify problems, take them to people in power, offer practical, thoughtful solutions, note their own role in whatever mess needs mending, and offer to take part in the repair work they suggest.
Being proactive, with a plan and outlining your own roll in it with honesty. This demonstrates that you see your own success as tied directly to the success of the entire organization, that one isn’t just “making moves” for their own benefit.
Zoom-style meetings and remote work are unlikely to go away the near-future and by many accounts are not going anywhere period. Whether in business or in school or another reason, if you’ve participated in a handful of Zoom-style meetings you know that while we see and hear each other there is still a sense of depersonalization when it comes to communicating this way.
In academia where previously the use of emojis, slang and a conversational tone in written communication were frowned upon many are now calling for the use of the colloquial emotional indicators to help heighten the sense that there is a real person “on the other end of the line.”
We will now have to learn about camera angels and how to interact with our audience in a different way. Public speaking and speaking to a camera are two different things. Those who are used to speaking to crowds have trained themselves to continual cast their gaze over the entire audience, making eye contact with as many people as possible. Now we must train ourselves to look at the camera in a casual and pleasing way as this is how we make eye contact during a streaming meeting.
Adding a personal touch when interacting with people inside or outside of our organizations can send a signal loud enough to be heard over all the digital disruption about who we are, what we do, why we do it and what we care about. The naysayers of digital technology worry that we will lose our humanity—this is a way to keep that as a part of your business model.