How’s your team doing? Leading a high-functioning team of people is rarely easy, even during the best of times. Leading in times of uncertainty presents an even bigger challenge.
It’s during these periods of unrest and anxiety that solid leadership is needed more than ever. Here are nine tips for leading your team and strengthening their resolve for success.
1. It’s not about you
Effective leaders seek to influence others by modifying expectations and creating a motivational arena in which everyone within their reach is inspired to work toward common organizational goals. The most effective leaders focus on the development and growth of their team members, and on helping each of them reach their full potential. After all, it’s the results of the team that are important, not the team leader.
The best leaders are those that inspire, lead by example, and put people above power. Ultimately, your individual team members don’t care how strong of a leader you are inwardly; they want to see where your leadership can take them. Much like money, leadership can only gain in value when it is invested somewhere else.
Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, writes that “Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge.”
2. Communicate progress
Yes, your team knows it is “making progress.” But does each member truly know what progress they’ve made, as well as how and when it was achieved?
By simply focusing on one or two priorities at a time, you can gather for less than 20 minutes each day to review tasks, rank progress, and celebrate accomplishments. Most successful team leaders agree it’s better to enjoy several small victories along the journey than to “high five” only once at the end.
3. Solicit input
The best leaders instinctively know that quality ideas can come from anyone on their team. Encourage all of your team members to provide input – anytime, anywhere.
4. Focus on ideas, not circumstance
It’s easy to find excuses for why things don’t get done. True leaders refuse to accept the mediocrity of situations, focusing instead on ideas for moving the business forward. And by the way, most creative notions come without big brains or excess resources — that’s why they’re such good ideas!
5. Build an environment of ownership
Maintaining a sense of belonging is a cornerstone of team morale. Since individuals prosper when teams succeed, personal contribution plays a vital role to the sense of belonging. When team members uncover a problem, they want to own the problem. Once they own the problem, they set about finding creative ways to solve the problem.
6. Leverage your talent
In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins advised “…getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”
Are your best people where they should be? Is each person on your team operating to their strengths? If not, make the adjustment now to maximize time and talent.
7. Clarify and measure responsibilities
Once you’ve made the necessary talent adjustments, make sure that everyone involved is clear about what they should be doing. Then establish clear performance indicators, measuring, adjusting, and recalibrating as needed.
8. Be good to yourself
Running a business is a challenge, but leading a successful team can take its toll. The most effective leaders make sure to get regular sleep, eat right, and exercise. They also encourage their team members to see the clear value in taking time to rest and recharge.
9. Take action
Developing a plan for success is useless if you don’t act upon it. By moving forward, you create a sense of urgency and certainty in an uncertain environment. Your team should feel confident that you are in control. And by openly soliciting input and feedback you get to know if your plan is a good one.
The world is full of bosses and managers. Good leaders are rare. In fact, most top leaders are not managers at all. Progress, no matter how little, fuels your team’s forward momentum, infectiously stimulating everyone around you.
If you can inspire, motivate and encourage those around you to accomplish more than they might on their own, you offer your team more than a chance of success — you provide a chance to learn, grow, and contribute to success!