Good leadership is important in day-to-day business and essential in a crisis. When you focus on improving your day-to-day leadership, you build the foundation of expectation and trust that will help your team function more smoothly in rougher waters.
Here are five ways to lead more effectively now and in the future:
- Build a culture of leadership. A company that reserves leadership for the top echelon of executives will produce employees who are great followers, but who cannot take charge to manage their affairs in a crisis. Instead, focus on creating a culture in which leadership qualities and actions are supported and developed at all levels. Teach staff what they need to know in order to make sure the work gets done, even when their supervisor has stepped away, and give them the support they need to do it.
- Help the team feel safe. Building a sense of safety means providing the tools, training, and communication team members need so they know that their needs will be addressed in a crisis – which means addressing their needs from day to day. Good onboarding, regular training, and prompt responses to requests for needed materials, competencies, advice, or time will all promote this sense of safety. They’ll also help reduce workplace stress, the number-one cause of absenteeism.
- Clarify the change. Good leaders not only know when change is needed, they also know how to proactively prepare their teams to manage it. Explain to your team what change is happening and why it is necessary for their success and the company’s success. Make sure each team member understands how the change affects their specific duties. Clarify how the leadership is working to provide resources and support during the change. Finally, request feedback – encourage team members to tell you what is happening “on the ground,” so you can provide support and adapt as needed.
- Embrace servant leadership. Great leaders embrace the concept of “servant leadership.” They ask what they can do to make their team’s job easier, and they ask nothing of their employees that they haven’t already done or are not willing to do themselves. When times get tough, they jump in alongside their team to ensure the work gets finished – even if it means long nights and early mornings. Servant leadership engenders trust and helps the team feel safe.
- Eat last. Make sure your team receives their due – in the form of time off, congratulations, or other support – before you receive yours. In military situations, officers demonstrate this ethic by literally being the last people to go through the line at mealtimes. They demonstrate that the work performed by their team matters and their team deserves the first reward. Do the same in order to inspire loyalty and demonstrate that your people matter.
At ExecuTeam Staffing, our recruiters specialize in connecting companies with qualified professionals who offer a great cultural fit and leadership potential. Contact us today to learn more.