Successful leadership requires a combination of character and competence. Unfortunately, many leaders fail to demonstrate the essential leadership skills that are required to develop successful teams. As with all skills, some leaders are more proficient than others. How can leaders leverage the key fundamentals of leadership to increase their leadership capacity, and successfully impact their team?
- Communicate clearly, concisely, and timely. In fact, communication is one of the most important elements of leadership. When crafting your message, consider all angles. In other words, think about the “who,” “what” and “how” of your message. Keep in mind, what is the issue at hand? How can it be solved? Who needs to take action?
- Make sure your message is understood. Anyone can deliver a message, but the message may not be understood. Communication is not complete until your audience confirms that the message is understood. If necessary, repeat yourself to make a point, and always ask your team if they have questions are comments. Also, wait five to ten minutes to give your team time to process.
- Manage conflicts with consideration and purpose.Always handle conflict immediately, or you may run the risk of being seen as incapable, as a leader. Prevent conflict by learning your employees’ emotional triggers. For example, consider their working styles; some are methodical, and work slower in pace, others thrive and work well under pressure. Pairing these two personality types could result in major conflict.
- Give specific and appropriate praise to team efforts.State what you appreciate in an authentic manner. For example, “last week, during the team meeting, you provided valuable insight, which allowed us to improve our customer relations.” This conveys the message of exactly what impressed you, and reinforces the desired behavior.
- Provide timely and honest feedback. According to Ken Blanchard, failing to provide feedback is one of the most common mistakes that leaders make. Failing to provide feedback deprives employees of the opportunity to improve their performance. Tell individuals what they accomplished or didn’t accomplish in precise measurable terms which will allow them to determine if they are on target or need to make adjustments.
Demonstrating successful leadership is often filled with trial and error. Successful leaders continue to hone their leadership skills throughout their careers.
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