Updated: Nov 20, 2020
Have you ever taken a good long look at yourself and asked what it is like to work for you? If you haven’t…..might we encourage you to do so today?
Serving as a manager, team leader or supervisor can feel like a rather lonely and vulnerable place. Countless managers admit to secretly hoping for their team’s approval and devotion, and share that they find it a struggle to earn that respect. Others intentionally work to make themselves impervious to the opinions of those around them, finding a flint-faced outlook to be the most effective way to move the group forward without succumbing to private insecurities.
Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, self-reflection and introspection is truly good for the soul and can also be incredibly beneficial to all those around you. As you take a moment to lean into the process of examining your leadership style, here are a few things that you can do to immediately improve the way that you manage yourself and others.
Use your position of strength to help others improve.
What you have received, give freely. Think about the traits or tactics that you admire in the people who helped you along the way, and don’t be afraid to emulate those great leadership qualities. By paying active and careful attention to how you personally demonstrate leadership, not only will you find yourself becoming stabilized and rooted in those characteristics, but also you will certainly inspire and motivate those around you.
Provide opportunities often -- whenever it is within your power to do so. The more stable that you become in your position of leadership, the more power you now have to help others achieve their goals. Be strong, confident, and secure enough to seek out opportunities to promote and launch others on your team. Avoid becoming stuck on what the “perfect” employee looks like to you. This requires looking past your own current privileges and paying attention to diversity and inclusion of all types. A leader with great foresight is able to shift the focus from obvious attributes and look for desirable qualities and leadership potential in employees with a wide range of varying circumstances.
Seek genuine connection with those who are assisting you. Would you want to work somewhere you feel like your contributions were tolerated, rather than solicited? How would you feel coming to a place of employment where your presence was met with apathy, and not sought out? Each and everyone member of your team is so valuable, and every one of them can shine brightly when you turn the spotlight in their direction. Encourage yourself to take an interest in those around you, and make a conscious effort to engage and connect.
Look strong, feel mighty, act decisively.
Solicit information from your team and peers. Notice all of the connecting and engaging mentioned above? Not only does this draw you closer to your team, but also it gives your workers the confidence to bombard you with their enthusiasm, smart minds, thought-provoking questions, and ideas-from-all-perspectives. Humbly encourage constructive feedback and try to implement proposals in small increments on a trial basis. Those around you will appreciate having a voice and you benefit from the mass sharing of knowledge by gaining a reputation as an innovator and strong leader.
Increase your own personal understanding. Spend time learning more about your industry’s history, trends, and forecasts. Never miss an opportunity for networking. Invest in professional development; make this a top priority - the rate of return is powerful. If you feel like you are falling behind the trends, read, research, and ask questions. Find a trusted colleague or mentor and use them to test your knowledge from time to time.
Master the art of preparedness. Think about the concerns that are weighing you down right at this very moment. Rehearse various scenarios and outcomes - best and worst case - and rehearse all of the immediate and long-term actions that would need to be launched to meet these changes. Putting together a variety of contingency plans may feel cumbersome and time-consuming, but when you have a plan for every possible issue that may arise, it actually frees up space in your mind. You will feel more at ease and will be able to take decisive action as needed.
How to find your own inspiration and motivate your team to soar
First, rekindle your own joy. It can be easy to feel slightly jaded over time. Usually when we “arrive” at our desired destination, it is never quite what we expected it to be. Sometimes the challenges are different than we ever could have imagined, and the impact that we actually have is just a fraction or what we thought we would have. Therefore, it is very important to reflect upon the things that you DO appreciate about your role. Think about why you wanted what brought you “here” in the first place. Think back to when your current life was just a hope and a dream. What are some things that drew you to this place that you now reside? What inspired you to work so hard and reach your goals? What were some reasons that you felt this would be a good fit?
Promote the positives. Reflect on the answers to the three questions posed above. Focus on all the good that has come out of the struggles that you’re survived. Continue to look for the good in what you do. Review the things that you like about the person that you’ve become. Now think about your team’s positive qualities, identify areas where you have seen them grow and develop, and give yourself an “atta boy/girl” for that. By always looking for the best in yourself, your team, and your workplace surrounding, you will be more likely to find inspiration from within - which is arguably even better than relying on outward validation.
Remember, leading a group of any sort is no easy feat, particularly for those who really put their back into it and seek to lead from the heart. You leaders are to be commended for all of your efforts. You certainly make a difference!
Are you disappointed with the results of YOUR 360° appraisal? Use RHS for leadership development and career counseling services. Looking to go beyond 360 reviews? Use RHS for anonymous, third-party culture surveys that are tailored to fit your organization’s needs and budget.