If every organization is different, how can you expect to practice the same leadership strategies as the rest? Despite inevitable differences, all leaders possess common, essential responsibilities: influence, engage and encourage others. The language of leadership is universal, and virtually every organization will execute it in its own way. Although, personalization is vital in the workplace, especially in terms of leadership; whether in regards to workplace culture, attitude, or the way tasks are delegated. You can’t expect perfection, but you do have the power to optimize performance. Leadership is about unity — sharing and executing goals, having a collective vision, effective communication, giving and receiving recognition, and consistently learning with your team. The path of leadership is a journey with infinite destinations.
- It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” — Nelson Mandela.
Leadership is a choice. One of the significant roles of a leader is choosing how to communicate. It’s essential to have a clear vision, but it is just as important — if not more — to understand how to convey it to your team. Being successful in this aspect of leadership requires you to understand the way your team members think, including their communication styles. You must keep your organization’s mission, vision, and goals in mind. How do your personal and organizational goals align? Ask this question for not only yourself but for your team as well. Where are you going and how will you get there? It is vital to define and elaborate this vision with your team. Otherwise, your team might accomplish hard work, but without the emotional fulfillment of real achievement, which can lead to burnout. Don’t let hard work become insignificant. Hard work generates positive results when people feel like they contribute to a collective goal, mission, or vision. Being actively aware of this concept will serve as a roadmap to success within your organization.
- Encourage recognition.
“Don’t work for recognition, but do work worthy of recognition.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Recognition is often linked to appreciation. Employees want to feel appreciated by their managers and coworkers. Recognition is an effective way to help an employee feel fulfilled, and it is also a great way of expressing unity within your organization. Taking the time to identify good performance or insights sends a message to the rest of your team — it lets them know how their role contributes to the overall success of your organization. It is also important to recognize potential opportunities for improvement. Showing appreciation does not always involve task recognition, but can be as simple as showing gratitude for your employees for just being a part of your team. According to “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace,” authors Gary Chapman and Paul White reveal some ways your team might prefer to receive verbal affirmation:
- Write an email and compliment others on specific contributions to the company.
- Tell others (when he or she is not around) about the good job they are doing.
- In a review, write a specific list of the thing you like about your team members work performance.
- Praise your colleagues in private, not in front of others.
- Give encouragement after your team handled a difficult situation.
As the saying goes, “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.” — Amy Rees Anderson.
3. Know how to progress and empower your team.
“A boss has the title, a leader has the people.” — Simon Sinek
Leadership is a developed quality, not a title. Effective leaders know how to create balance and guide their team, while also providing opportunities for them to experience growth and development. The truth is, leaders can’t do everything on their own. They must learn to rely on others and collaborate to accomplish tasks and achieve optimal performance. One example includes delegating responsibilities to others in your team. Responsibilities encourage autonomy and enable people to take initiative. Reflect on each team member and consider their strengths. Think about how each of their unique skills and talents can make an impact on your organization. Greater responsibilities will empower your team and provide opportunities for them to grow as professionals. When delegating responsibilities, leaders should also see this as an opportunity to develop, coach, encourage and reward team members.
- Understand learning never stops.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams
Knowledge is power. A leader never stops learning because leadership development never truly ends. A leader is both a learner and a teacher. Leaders take the initiative to share their knowledge and experiences with others in hopes of developing the leadership skills of those around them. They value and prioritize their team’s leadership skills as much as their own. Leaders do not restrict themselves to one role in the workplace — they also have responsibilities as a coach and mentor. Encourage your team always to be willing to learn, as well as to keep an open mind towards new ideas and change. Leaders around the world must commit to continued education, consistently applying leadership skills, implementing new ideas and leadership strategies, and creating a foundation for success. Leadership has no restrictions — instead, it has the power to create endless possibilities.