Listening to a client this week share his frustrations on the state of leadership in his organization brought alarm to me on how I was going to help. By the time I got off the phone call my head was spinning with both concern and possibility. Sure this company had unaware senior leaders but at least they were now willing to face the music. The conversation went something like this:
“They are so busy all the time that it is difficult to pin them down.”
“ They really want to keep their good talent from constantly leaving.”
“I know they have to make some changes and that includes developing their employees. They just never focused on that aspect of their firm.”
Many organizations have dealt with senior leaders who pushed off the care and nurturing of their employees. They think that as long as they have a good revenue stream and customers’ needs are met fairly well, there is no need to focus on internal talent. Guess what? Employees come first! Without developing a culture where each person leads from wherever they are, there will end up being a drop in customer satisfaction.
But how can senior leaders develop and empower their teams into becoming impactful leaders?
Five leadership qualities that will prevent a stunted leadership:
1. BE TRUSTWORTHY
When I spoke with my client the first thing we talked about was the need for trust between the senior leaders and the rest of the firm. An organization lacking trust is lacking direction. A great place to build trustworthiness is by:
- Following through on what you say you will do
- Taking an interest in each team member
- Being honest in a respectful way
- Making yourself approachable
The foundation of any successful leadership strategy is trust.
2. KEEP OPEN EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU ARE RIGHT
By the time we become senior leaders we have probably seen it all and have tons of knowledge and experiences. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from other leaders. As long as leaders are willing to consider new perspectives they will continue to grow and evolve. Always thinking we are right is a sabotaging mantra. Try to allow your curiosity to drive conversations.
3. LISTEN FOR IMPORTANT INSIGHTS
One area that senior leaders can be tripped up on easily is their ineffective listening abilities. They are often eager to respond and pounce before hearing others explain their ideas and suggestions. Some tricks to active listening are:
- Force yourself not to interrupt (and it might take a great deal of reminding)
- Try to hear what the other leader is saying and if it could have merit
- Don’t jump to conclusions and assume you know what is being shared
- Use your two eyes and two ears to understand more deeply
Related: 6 Paths to a Spirited Team Culture
4. COACH WITH CLARITY AND CARE
Commit to becoming the best coach ever by learning recognized coaching skills. It may take time but it is well worth it to help another leader reach their potential. Can you think of a leader in your life that coached you and really believed in you? Think of that leader and the impact they had on your career. Now decide if that is the kind of leader you want to be known as.
5. BUILD A CULTURE OF RELATIONSHIPS
To continue to grow our leadership and not become stunted, we need to continually build vibrant and meaningful relationships. Not only do we need to delve more deeply into our team members but we also must help make connections for others. By building networks for the leaders throughout our organizations we are also cultivating our own leadership.
What qualities have prevented your leadership from becoming stunted?
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