7 Steps to Upping Your Leadership Game

7 Steps to Upping Your Leadership Game

While many organizations boast of multiple managers, not as many can say they have people who excel at leadership. Why is it so hard to be a good leader? Most people aren’t trained – even in the best schools, a business degree has many technical aspects, but there’s not a lot on the “soft skills” which are the essence of good leadership. If you believe your leadership approach needs a refresher, consider these 7 Steps to upping your leadership game:

  1. Balance humility with ego. It’s important for leaders to be confident and show that they know what they are doing and excite their people with their confidence. However, the best leaders balance ego with a healthy dose of humility: They self-reflect, they take corrective feedback even from those who are levels below them, and they seek ways to grow and change.
  2. Mentor, but not just “do as I do”. Successful people got where they are because they did many things right and have a certain set of talents and style. Unfortunately, when leading, it’s not realistic to expect everyone else around you to do it the same way you did it. Strong leaders recognize style differences – just because you are an assertive and results-oriented person doesn’t mean the person working for you with a calmer, more thoughtful style can’t be just as effective in their own way. Being able to mentor, and to shift style while doing it, is the mark of a talented leader. It takes effort and focus and it’s a lot more work, but the payoff is much greater.
  3. Listening is as important as giving guidance. The adage “seek to understand before you seek to be understood,” which Stephen Covey eloquently shared, fits here. Leaders should want to teach, guide, and train their constituents, but the best leaders listen and learn first, then guide second. Listening takes patience and strength, so a leader can’t be running so quickly that they miss out on the important nuggets they can glean by listening.
  4. The best ideas may not be yours. Leaders need to have the vision and the ideas about how to accomplish the vision. The team looks to the leader for encouragement and enthusiasm, but the leader doesn’t have to know it all. A good leader can paint a picture of where the team can go, and then let others in the team create pathways and avenues to be able to get there. A good leader stays open and recognizes that his or her gift can be in leveraging the ideas of others, not in giving away all of the answers all of the time.
  5. People want to be led. While good leaders should listen, take others’ ideas into account, and be interested in hearing what their team has to say, the truth is that most employees want a strong leader they can be excited about following. Communicating a clear and effective vision, showing the team where they fit in the overall picture, and helping them to be the best they can be in order to contribute are among the most important and fulfilling aspects of leadership.
  6. Trust is earned. While in the past the common wisdom said the person in authority is right and in charge, but the times they are a-changin’. Now, trust is developed over time, and employees are skeptical of those in charge until they can see the leader has their best interests at heart. Recognize that they might not trust you, or want to follow you until you give them a reason to do so. Do what you say you will, and communicate when you make a mistake. Put a priority on earning trust over time.
  7. Give credit to the team. Strong leaders don’t need to hog the limelight. They don’t need to be the ones taking the accolades all of the time. In fact, a good leader wants their team to succeed and wants others to get credit for their great ideas and accomplishments. Know that when your team does well, you do too, and enjoy the glow that comes from celebrating the work of others.
     

Being a consistently strong leader takes time, energy and focus. Be willing to invest all three to be the best leader you can possibly be.

Bev Flaxington
Human Behavior
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The Collaborative combines a vast pool of human behavioral insights, and the knowledge of how people make shifts toward effective outcomes, with on-the-ground experience to ge ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 24-28

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 24-28

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, April 24-28, 2017 


Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!


1. Implementing a Robo Advisor Strategy


Robo advisors can complement—not threaten—any bank’s business model and improve customer engagement. Regardless of age, income, or gender, 75% of bank customers surveyed by KPMG said they would be likely or somewhat likely to consider a robo advice service from their bank. — Greg Vigrass

2. The Sweetspot of Sales


I’ve had some extremely interesting conversations the last few days. We’ve been discussing sales, sales management, leadership, motivation etc. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with these inspiring business leaders. One question keeps coming up: Why do you love sales so much? — Tove Zilliacus

3. New ETFs That Reinvent Fixed Income Investing—Without Reinventing the Wheel


We all know the drill: the Fed raises interest rates, and the bond market falls. That’s an important equation to consider now that the decade-long era of historically low interest rates is slowly but surely coming to an end. — Salvatore Bruno

4. Alternative Beta Strategies: Alpha/Beta Separation Comes to Hedge Funds


A quiet revolution is taking place in the alternatives world. The idea of alpha/beta separation has finally made its way from traditional to alternative investing. This development brings with it a more transparent, liquid and cost-effective approach to accessing the “alternative beta” component of hedge fund return and a new means for benchmarking hedge fund managers. — Yazann Romahi

5. Advisors Will Be Extinct in 5 Years Unless…


I’ve had financial advisors for more than 40 years. Not once in those years have I called my advisor to find out what stock/funds I should buy or sell. But I have called to find out where I should get my first mortgage, when to sell my house, or how much income I could get in retirement. — Paulette Filion and Judy Paradi

6. Outsourcing Investment Management: TPAM vs. TAMP


Many financial advisory firms want the silver bullet solution to outsourcing investment management so the focus can be on client interactions and business development. However the jargon in this outsourced space has become very confusing so here is a brief summary of our understanding. — Jennifer Goldman​​​​​​​

7. How Can Financial Planners Save You From America's #1 Killer?


You probably aren’t aware of this, but it’s true: financial planners are heroes. Yep, it's the truth. And when you think of the America's top killer, you might think about smoking, cancer or obesity. Or maybe even a serial killer. — Ronald Sier

8. How to Stay On Clients' Minds


How to effectively stay on your clients’ minds (for all the right reasons), even though they may not see you for months. — Paul Kingsman

9. 20 Reasons Why Your Company Should Do Less Better


Do Less Better practitioners are fanatical about focus and de-complexity; herein lies the secret of their success. Yet, do less better isn’t something most leaders embrace. The seemingly more attractive (and logical) option is to do more and more — John Bell

10. Advisors: Where Should You Start with Content Marketing?


Often advisors ask us, “How should I get started in marketing?” It’s a fair question. They just want to make sure they’re putting their time and resources in the right place. — Jud Mackrill​​​​​​​

11. The 11 Best Steakhouses in the World


Serious carnivores will go to the ends of the earth to seek out a perfectly marbled, expertly seared steak. And so, it seems, will we. We've visited the best butchers in France, reacquainted ourselves with the idea that everything (steaks included) is bigger in Texas, eaten at celebrated parrillas of Argentina, and enjoyed the elegant ambiance of metropolitan steakhouses. — Andrew Harper

Douglas Heikkinen
Perspective
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IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio