3 Leadership Mantras That Will Set You Apart
You hear this so commonly when corporate leadership is discussed – “People leave managers, not companies.” We’ve all had the managers who are ready to shift the blame to the team for anything that’s gone wrong. And we’ve also had the manager who will protect you with the higher management for an error that can easily be reversed, or rectified. We always remember the bad ones and the good ones. We often aspire to follow the good ones.
Good leadership is not about winning a popularity contest. Being liked and respected is not the primary goal. It’s about influencing and serving others regardless of their job title to achieve a certain goal. More than anything, it’s about creating harmony in an environment where people want to work together.
Leadership can be a struggle to develop, as there are intrinsic qualities that are tough to cultivate. To be a good leader you have to be a good people’s person. You need to feel the pulse of your employees and team members. Need to have integrity, transparency, honesty. You also need to know how to listen to both your heart and your head, and when to do which, and when to balance things out. You need to be able to resolve conflicts; you need to have a vision. Above all, you need to have the drive to face challenges.
From our experiences with clients so far, we have, however, a few more ingredients we believe are essential to set you on the right path to becoming the leader in a successful business. We have watered it down to these three crucial mantras:
1. Keep your promise and commitments:
Leaders often promise high-quality products and experiences to customers, careers that offer opportunity and purpose to employees, ambitious strategies to accelerate innovation to investors, and also promise to be sustainable and socially responsible. In practice, however, many struggle and drop the ball on their commitments.
Under the pressure of a deadline, or in the midst of constant change, some leaders may drift on their commitment, in which crucial promises are forgotten or broken. Commitment drift erodes trust and undermines relationships. It’s challenging for leaders to remember commitments over time, much less to communicate them clearly or adjust them as priorities change.
However, companies like Google, for example, have constantly shown their commitment towards work-life balance, which is one of their key missions. It is committed to this and provides a friendly working environment, special healthcare facilities, flexible work hours, work from home options, women-friendly policies and support among the team members keep employees highly motivated.
Some ways you can set and keep your promises:
• Keep smaller and attainable commitments. Take into account what clients and all those involved in the company need and keep it simple.
• Keep close track of your targets. Either do so yourself or delegate the responsibility to someone else.
• Focus on processes. Make sure that things are done in a step-by-step manner. So, even if a goal is not achieved in the exact time frame you know you’re on the right track.
2. Practice active listening:
One common complaint among employees is that they felt that their bosses didn’t have — or take — the time to talk with them. As a manager, you’re pulled in many directions throughout the day. While it may seem like you don’t have time, making the time to listen to your team members has the potential to increase your leadership capacity vastly as you gain insights, consider new ideas and receive valuable feedback.
Active listening is a crucial soft skill that leaders should develop, which facilitates them to connect with employees. Healthy communication between leaders and team members establishes a foundation for trust. When your team members know that they will be heard, they are more likely to openly share their ideas and provide honest feedback. This, in turn, drives employee engagement and positive business outcomes including innovation, productivity and profitability.
Some ways you can hone this skill:
• Make the person who is approaching you feel like they have your full attention.
• Exhibit verbal and non-verbal cues (e.g. make eye contact, turn your phone to silent mode)that let the other person know you are available, ready to pay attention and interested in what they are saying.
• Schedule a time for them, if your itinerary looks very busy.
3. Connect vision to daily tasks:
Sharing the company vision in a way that translates into action is an active sign of good leadership. Leaders share a dream and direction that other people want to share and follow. The leadership vision goes beyond your written organisational mission statement and your vision statement. As your business grows, you’ll realise that you can’t be around for every decision, and you won’t be fully qualified to perform every position.
That’s why it’s crucial to leverage the strengths of your team. This means finding each employee’s strengths, trusting their expertise and making the most of their abilities. Find out what they’re passionate about and help them lead a project if they show leadership ability. Empower them to succeed with meaningful work that supports the company’s goals and objectives.
Clear any organisational roadblocks for your team that could limit creativity and innovation. Ask and provide them with what they need to be successful and achieve their work. Don’t get in their way if they’re meeting or exceeding expectations.
Some ways you can engage employees with the vision:
• Communicate your vision through every medium possible, in person, email, important meeting, and long past the point where it gets boring to your employees.
• Make sure that individual and team goals tie in with the vision statement. For example, furniture store IKEA’s vision statement is “A better everyday life.” This is what employees work with, this is what is incorporated in every brand strategy and plan, and this is what customers are also offered.
• Highlight examples of people who have achieved significant progress toward the company’s goals or performed in a way that supports them.
Concluding thoughts about leadership
Leaders can paint a vision of the future that inspires the team to do whatever it takes to get there. So yes, there is no one formula for a great leader. My personal opinion is that leadership is about certain traits, as a leader, you should foster trust and cooperation, be empathetic, be honest with integrity, have a belief that you can do it and instil the same in others.
Lastly, innovation and creative thinking, as well as the futuristic vision, are some other key traits which make a leader stand out. Irrespective of how you define a leader, he or she can prove to be a difference-maker between success and failure.
To become a good leader, you must have all these qualities or most of these qualities but if you lack some of these qualities, then you might struggle to make the mark in the world of leadership. In a nutshell, you will have to set a good example for others to follow.
At Yellow Spark, we conduct leadership training to rekindle the spirit of leadership to ensure better organisational productivity. To know more write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.