In the fast-paced business world, leadership has transformed from mere management to visionary guidance. Effective leadership isn't just about steering the ship; it's about inspiring and leading teams towards excellence. Leadership, the timeless cornerstone of progress, has witnessed a seismic shift over the past five years. The evolving landscape of business, technology, and society has ushered in a leadership crisis that demands a radical rethink of traditional models.
Global uncertainties, from geopolitical tensions to economic upheavals, have constantly placed leaders in flux. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, acted as a crucible, testing leaders' coping abilities as they navigated uncharted waters. Remote work, health concerns, and rapid market fluctuations challenged leaders to demonstrate genuine adaptability, empathy, and resilience like never before.
Additionally, a flurry of baby boomer retirements, which will continue to increase over the next few years, presented an additional problem.
Many organizations are reporting that they are experiencing a leadership crisis. Younger leaders are accelerating through the levels of leadership with
less experience and less opportunity for growth or mentorship than their predecessors. Many of these leaders find themselves in direr sink or
swim situations, unprepared with the skills and tools they need to navigate this ever-changing business landscape.
Personal development and leadership development have never been as important as it is today. To achieve excellence and stand out during this leadership crisis, here are a few ways to break down the essence of what it means to be a high performing leader and create a curated roadmap to leadership development.
Understanding the Essence of High-Performance Leadership
Leadership emerges as the driving force in the DNA of a successful organization. Leaders are not just decision-makers but architects of the workplace culture, shaping employee morale, engagement, and productivity. Establishing a high performance workplace culture isn't a trivial task—it's a deliberate endeavour that hinges on strategic leadership development. By aligning with essential development goals, leaders can unlock their potential to create a conducive environment where teams flourish, setting the team on the path to high performance culture.
Being a high performance leader involves embodying a set of qualities and behaviours that inspire exceptional results, which in turn fosters a high performance culture. Such leaders are visionaries who provide a clear direction and motivate their teams toward common goals. They possess strategic thinking abilities, making informed decisions and adapting strategies to changing circumstances. Effective communication is a cornerstone of their leadership style, fostering open dialogue and active listening.
High performance leaders empower their teams by delegating responsibilities, fostering autonomy, and valuing diverse perspectives. They demonstrate adaptability and resilience, turning challenges into growth opportunities. Inclusivity is paramount to their approach, recognizing and appreciating each team member's contributions. Collaboration is central to how they lead; they seek input, encourage innovation, and work alongside their teams to achieve results.
These leaders prioritize results, setting high standards while providing support and resources. Continuous learning drives their personal growth, enabling them to stay updated and integrate new knowledge. Empathy and integrity define their interactions, as they understand team members' needs and lead by example with honesty and transparency. High performance leaders create a culture of excellence, adaptability, and innovation, steering their teams and organizations toward enduring success.
Development Goals: The Path to High-Performance Leadership
During a leadership development journey, breaking down goals into fundamental properties is akin to constructing a strong foundation for a towering structure. This entails deliberate introspection, self-awareness, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By dissecting leadership goals into smaller, achievable components, you pave the way for focused growth and measurable progress.
At the heart of this process lies self-reflection—a vital tool for understanding strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Take time to assess current leadership skills, areas for improvement, and the direction you envision for growth. This introspective practice informs your goal-setting and fosters a deeper understanding of the kind of leader you aim to become.
Embracing mentorship opportunities is an important strategy for accelerated development. The mentor-mentee dynamic offers a wealth of insights and guidance. As a mentee, you can tap into the knowledge and experiences of seasoned leaders, gleaning wisdom that might take years to acquire independently. On the flip side, becoming a mentor reinforces your leadership insights and nurtures your ability to guide and inspire others.
The significance of leadership development goals cannot be overstated. Just as a compass points a ship in the right direction, these goals provide a roadmap for your growth as a leader. They crystallize your ambitions, set clear benchmarks, and help track progress. You nurture holistic development by focusing on personal growth goals alongside leadership objectives. Personal growth encompasses qualities like emotional intelligence, adaptability, and resilience—traits that fortify your leadership capabilities.
At HPL, high performance leadership development is what we do and what we pride ourselves on. The following are 4 aspects that are vital to any leader who is ready to start their journey to becoming a high performing leader.
1. Visionary Leadership: Casting the Future
Visionary leadership transcends mere goal-setting; it's about crafting a compelling vision that harmonizes with the company's culture. A leader's ability to articulate a clear and inspiring vision offers teams a purpose beyond tasks. This vision becomes a guiding light, channeling collective efforts toward a shared aspiration. High performance leaders share this vision and ignite a sense of ownership among employees, fostering motivation and dedication.
2. Effective Communication: The Foundation of Trust
Effective leadership begins with open communication. Transparency in communication nurtures trust, aligns expectations, and minimizes ambiguity. When leaders actively listen to their team members and cultivate an atmosphere that values diverse viewpoints, they lay the groundwork for collaboration and innovation. Leaders who communicate with clarity and empathy build rapport and encourage teams to thrive.
3. Building High-Performance Teams: A Collaborative Endeavor
Behind a high-performance workplace culture stand high-performance teams. Effective leaders identify their teams' strengths and weaknesses, optimizing resource allocation. Nurturing talent involves recognizing individual potential, offering avenues for growth, and fostering collaboration where team members complement one another. Leaders who prioritize team empowerment and value their contributions cultivate an environment where excellence naturally flourishes.
4. Adaptability and Resilience: Thriving Amidst Change
Change is constant, and high performance leaders are prepared to embrace it. The ability to adapt in the face of change demonstrates agility and forward-thinking. Adaptable leaders view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles. Equally vital is resilience—a trait that allows leaders to rebound from failures. By demonstrating resilience, leaders set an example for their teams, motivating them to persist in the face of adversity.
Incorporating High-Performance Leadership Development
The journey toward high-performance leadership is perpetual, requiring commitment, introspection, and a hunger for growth. High performance leadership goes beyond daily tasks; it shapes an organization's destiny and the trajectory of its members. Leaders create a workplace culture where excellence becomes second nature by embracing visionary leadership, fostering effective communication, nurturing team development, adapting to change, and showcasing resilience.
In an era characterized by volatility and competitiveness, high performance leadership is no longer a luxury—it's a prerequisite for success. Organizations prioritizing leadership development gain an edge, demonstrating adaptability, innovation, and an unswerving pursuit of goals. Aspiring leaders must understand that their developmental voyage catalyzes organizational triumph. By nurturing these crucial skills, they unlock their true potential, propelling their teams toward remarkable achievements.
Likewise, individual leaders who take it upon themselves to invest in their own leadership development will see their careers take incredible leaps. In a competitive hiring market, it's important to find ways to stand out and demonstrate high performance leadership skills and attributes. By investing in leadership and personal development, leaders take the opportunity to stand out, fostering a community of high performance leadership within their team and organization. That’s part of the beauty of a high performance leader; their unique leadership style and high performance skills positively affect those around them within their team and even across their organization. One small step for a leader can have an impressive ripple effect across organizations leading to new heights of leadership excellence.
Unlocking Potential with High Performance Leaders' (HPL) Programs
Organizations and leaders can leverage HPLs' leadership development programs to fully realize the concepts discussed here. These comprehensive programs are meticulously designed to hone visionary leadership, effective communication, team development, adaptability, and resilience skills. With a proven track record of transforming leaders into catalysts of excellence, HPL programs offer a blend of just enough concept knowledge to understand their importance and how they work and heavy on hands-on practice and real-world application, empowering participants to effectively navigate today's leadership challenges.
The programs are specifically designed and tailored to leaders at all levels in any organization, ensuring that there is always the right program available for every leader.
Advanced Leadership Transformation: For High potentials, Experienced and Senior Leaders
In our Advanced Leadership Transformation Program, we go beyond the basics, delving deep into the intricacies of leadership, honing your abilities, and empowering you to make a lasting impact. Whether you're an experienced executive aiming to enhance your leadership prowess or an aspiring manager seeking to accelerate your growth, this program is tailor-made to elevate your career trajectory and allow you to lead at scale.
What sets our program apart is our unwavering commitment to fostering transformational leadership. Our facilitators are industry experts, leadership coaches, and accomplished mentors who will guide leaders through a comprehensive curriculum encompassing cutting-edge theories, real-world case studies, and hands-on exercises. Gain invaluable insights into effective leadership through immersive workshops, interactive discussions, and practical applications.
Our program covers various essential leadership competencies, from organizational culture to cultivating high-performing teams and implementing organizational change. Develop a profound understanding of leadership styles, learn to adapt to diverse situations and expand emotional intelligence to inspire and motivate others.
Moreover, our program is designed to create a strong network of like-minded leaders, facilitating meaningful connections and opportunities for collaboration. Being surrounded by a diverse community of professionals from various industries and backgrounds allows for cross-pollination of ideas and a broader perspective on leadership challenges.
Lead From the Middle: For Mid-level Managers, Project Managers, High Potential Leaders
Are you in a middle management role, eager to elevate your leadership skills and significantly impact your organization? Look no further than our transformative program, Lead from the Middle. Designed specifically for leaders like you, this program empowers you to unlock your full leadership potential and drive meaningful change.
In today's dynamic business environment, leading from the middle requires unique skills and abilities. Our Lead from the Middle program equips you with the essential tools, knowledge, and strategies to navigate the complexities of your role and become a catalyst for success.
Through immersive workshops, insightful discussions, and practical exercises, our program provides a comprehensive learning experience tailored to your challenges and opportunities as a middle manager. Led by industry experts and seasoned leadership coaches, you'll gain invaluable insights into the key principles of effective middle management.
From mastering talent development, effective communication and building influential relationships to driving collaboration and managing change, our program covers many critical leadership competencies. You'll develop the skills to motivate and inspire your team, foster engagement, and confidently navigate cross-functionally through and around organizational complexities.
One of the key features of our program is its emphasis on practical application. We provide you with actionable strategies and tools to implement immediately in your daily work, enabling you to drive impactful change and achieve tangible results. You'll receive personalized guidance and support, helping you overcome common challenges and seize opportunities for growth.
Our Lead from the Middle program also fosters a vibrant community of leaders with similar experiences and aspirations. Connect with diverse peers, exchange ideas, and learn from each other's successes and challenges. Expand your professional network and gain valuable insights to enhance your leadership journey.
Front Line Leaders: For Leaders Who Understand the Hard Work of Leading from the Front Line
Are you a front-line leader looking to enhance your leadership skills and make a lasting impact on your team? Look no further than our transformative Front-Line Leadership Program, designed specifically for aspiring and current supervisors, team leads, and managers who drive organizational success.
In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, front-line leaders are crucial in translating strategy into action and inspiring their teams to achieve exceptional results. Our program is carefully crafted to equip you with the essential tools, knowledge, and mindset needed to excel in this dynamic and challenging role.
Through a blend of interactive workshops, practical exercises, and real-world case studies, our Front-Line Leadership Program provides a comprehensive and immersive learning experience. Led by industry experts and seasoned leadership coaches, you'll gain invaluable insights into the key principles of effective front-line leadership.
Our program covers various vital leadership competencies, from mastering communication and conflict resolution to motivating and empowering your team. You'll learn proven techniques for setting clear expectations, providing constructive feedback, and fostering a positive and inclusive work environment that drives engagement and productivity.
One of the unique aspects of our program is its emphasis on practical application. We understand that front-line leaders face unique challenges and time constraints, so we provide you with actionable strategies that can be implemented immediately in your day-to-day work. You'll receive personalized guidance and support, enabling you to confidently navigate complex situations and make informed decisions that align with your organization's goals.
Moreover, our program creates a vibrant community of front-line leaders, offering opportunities for networking, peer learning, and collaboration. Connect with like-minded professionals from various industries, exchange best practices, and gain fresh perspectives on common leadership challenges. Expand your network and forge relationships that will continue to support your growth long after the program ends.
4 Steps to TIME Shifting: For all Leaders <--- Best Value
Become the Master of Your Time with 4-steps to TIME Shifting and make time for the things that really matter!
Are you a leader who constantly finds yourself struggling to balance work, personal life, and everything in between? Do you wish you had more control over your schedule and could find the perfect harmony between productivity and personal well-being? Look no further because (HPL proudly presents 4-Steps to TIME Shifting, the ultimate self-paced course designed exclusively for leaders like you.
TIME Shifting is offered in two formats, virtual self-paced or virtual synchronized, allowing leaders to learn as needed and find an option that fits their schedule. This program empowers you to take charge of your life and become a true master of your time. Developed based on years of leadership experience, Glenn Sommerville provides you with invaluable scheduling tips and techniques, teaches you how to effectively block time for yourself, conquer email overload, and discover your personal and business rhythms.
By enrolling in TIME Shifting, you begin to take back control of your life. This program equips you with the essential skills to optimize your time, boost your productivity, and confidently lead. Imagine easily managing your responsibilities, creating a healthy work-life balance, and achieving unprecedented results in all aspects of your life!
Leadership self-confidence is a vital attribute that empowers leaders to guide and inspire their teams effectively. However, it's not uncommon for leaders to struggle with moments of self-doubt and insecurity. Everyone, at some point in their leadership career, experiences some self-doubt. If we don’t, we’re not being challenged, or our egos might be inflated!
The pressure to exude confidence can overwhelm today's fast-paced and competitive business landscape. Building self-confidence as a leader is essential for your personal well-being and effectively leading and inspiring your team. Team members can smell a lack of confidence a mile away!
1. Self-Awareness and Reflection
Understanding oneself is the foundation of building leadership self-confidence. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth. It involves honest introspection and an acknowledgment of your accomplishments and the challenges you've overcome. Here's how self-awareness and reflection can contribute to your confidence as a leader:
a. Acknowledging Achievements: Reflect on your past achievements, both big and small. Often, we underestimate the significance of our accomplishments. Think about what specific actions or attributes led to the accomplishments so that you may repeat or double down on them going forward. Recognizing your successes can remind you of your capabilities and instill a sense of pride and self-worth.
b. Seeking Feedback: Don't hesitate to seek feedback from peers, mentors, or team members. Constructive feedback can provide valuable insights into how others perceive your leadership style. This external perspective can help you identify areas for improvement and validate your strengths. A simple but very effective way to obtain useful feedback is to ask them to answer these three questions:
c. Focusing on Growth: Embrace the idea that leadership is a journey of continuous improvement. While celebrating your accomplishments, also acknowledge that there's always room for growth. This balanced approach to self-awareness allows you to appreciate your existing skills while remaining open to development.
Frequent reflection is the key to developing higher levels of self-awareness. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. One way I reflect is each day I set an “intention.” A few words that describe an intentional and specific learning, personal focus, or growth action I will take. Then I “reflect” on the previous day by writing a few words to describe my most impactful reflection. It can be something positive or constructive. It might be based on interactions with people, things I learned, frustrations I experienced, or challenges I faced. These help me understand what I want to do more that works for me or what I need to do differently.
2. Continuous Learning
Leadership is not static; it evolves with time and changing circumstances. I often use the professional athlete analogy for leadership. Becoming a professional athlete takes some basic skills and abilities that are developed and honed to high performance levels over time and with lots of early training. Once they achieve professional levels, athletes train even harder, develop new skills, stay current, and continually improve themselves and their techniques to continue succeeding and performing at those levels. It is the same for leadership as with professional sports! Leaders must continue to learn and develop new skills to be prepared and capable of handling their challenges, most of which they have yet to experience.
Investing in personal and professional development is a powerful way to enhance your leadership self-confidence. Here's how continuous learning contributes to your confidence:
a. Expanding Knowledge: Attend workshops, seminars, and training sessions that are relevant to leadership and related skills. Often in training and development sessions, there is more material than you can retain long term. You may hear or read some concepts that you’ve heard before; however, a periodic refresher reminds us of concepts and techniques we may not have had an opportunity until now to utilize fully. Acquiring new knowledge and expertise both motivates and equips you with the tools to confidently navigate complex challenges. Networking opportunities at these types of sessions also can be a source of a confidence booster as you quickly learn that you are not alone with your challenges, have much to offer and coach others on, and can equally learn from others' experiences.
b. Skill Development: Learning new skills, such as effective communication, conflict resolution, or strategic planning, can significantly boost your self-assurance. As you apply these skills in real-world scenarios, you'll gain confidence in handling various leadership situations. Look and seek out opportunities within your current team or organization that will provide you with new opportunities to develop new skills. Assignments, projects, or just supporting and helping out others are great ways to develop new skills.
c. Staying Informed: In a rapidly changing world, staying informed about industry trends, technological advancements, and market dynamics is crucial. Being well-informed bolsters your confidence and enables you to make informed decisions as a leader. A great way of staying informed is to get out of your company a few times a year to benchmark other businesses. These businesses don’t necessarily have to be in the same market as you. Look for consortiums, organized benchmarking events, or utilize your professional network to request visits to other organizations. Leverage your professional network to schedule periodic coffee or lunch meetings with other leaders to see what they are working on and their challenges or seek their advice or opinion. Benchmarking and networking are awesome ways to stay informed about what is happening outside your immediate company's four walls.
3. Celebrate Small Wins
Leaders are often focused on motivating their teams and celebrating collective successes. However, it's equally important to celebrate your personal achievements as a leader, no matter how minor they may seem. Celebrating small wins forces you to occasionally step off that hamster wheel and realize what you have accomplished and where you have succeeded. Otherwise, it’s too easy just to keep running to the next challenge or getting whacked by one without appreciating what we have achieved. I am one who has always been so focused on the goal that I too often miss the smaller achievements on the journey to the ultimate goal. When we do this, we may have a tendency to see the obstacles and challenges being faced, set-backs experienced, and future risks without recognizing just how far we have come, what we have learned and where we have developed, the problems we have solved, new skills picked up, and not appreciating that we are ready for what lays ahead and face them with renewed confidence.
Here's why celebrating small wins is essential for leadership self-confidence:
a. Reinforcing Competence: Acknowledging your individual successes reinforces the belief that you are competent and effective as a leader. It serves as a reminder of your ability to make a positive impact and what you do well.
b. Setting Personal Goals: Establish personal leadership goals and milestones. When you achieve these goals, celebrate them. This practice boosts your self-confidence and provides a sense of purpose and direction in your leadership journey. It’s amazing the difference setting goals can make. Not only are you more likely to achieve more, it gives you concrete achievements to celebrate!
c. Creating a Positive Feedback Loop: Celebrating small wins creates a positive feedback loop. The more you recognize your achievements, the more motivated and confident you become. This positivity can radiate to your team, creating a more inspiring leadership presence.
Leadership self-confidence is not about being flawless or never making mistakes. It's about knowing your strengths, recognizing areas for growth, and continuously developing your skills. You can steadily enhance your leadership self-confidence by practicing self-awareness and reflection, investing in continuous learning, and celebrating small wins.
In addition to the three strategies mentioned above, there are several other techniques and practices that should also be considered in support of leadership self-confidence. Leadership often comes with its share of challenges and setbacks. Developing resilience in the face of adversity can help you bounce back stronger and more confident. View obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning. Surround yourself with mentors and coaches who can provide guidance, perspective, and support. Having a trusted advisor can help you navigate difficult situations and provide valuable insights to boost your confidence. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial for maintaining confidence. Engage in mindfulness practices, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
Remember that building self-confidence is a journey that takes time and effort. Embrace the growth process, and don't be discouraged by occasional setbacks. As you consistently apply these strategies, you'll become a more self-assured and effective leader who can inspire and lead confidently. So, start today on the path to becoming the confident leader you aspire to be. Your team and your organization will benefit from your newfound self-assured leadership style.
Leadership is a transformative force that has the potential to create a positive impact and drive exceptional results. Effective leaders possess a unique set of skills, qualities, and strategies that enable them to navigate challenges, inspire their teams, and foster an environment of growth and high performance leadership. In this article, we will delve into the core aspects of effective leadership and provide valuable insights on how to develop as a leader, empowering you to unleash your full potential and make a lasting difference in others throughout your leadership journey.
Self-awareness is the foundation of effective leadership.
To lead authentically, it is essential to understand your strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs. Reflecting on your leadership style and seeking feedback from others will provide valuable insights into your effectiveness as a leader. This introspection will help you identify personal growth and improvement areas, enabling you to align your actions with your core principles.
Self-awareness also involves understanding your impact on others and how you are perceived as a leader. By cultivating self-awareness, you can build stronger relationships, foster trust, and adapt your leadership approach to meet the needs of your team and a situation.
Cultivate Key Leadership Skills
Effective communication is paramount for leadership success. Enhancing your ability to actively listen, articulate ideas clearly, and provide constructive feedback fosters trust and understanding within your team. Communication is a two-way street, and effective leaders prioritize engaging in open and transparent dialogue with their team members.
1. Inspiring Vision and Direction: An effective leader must articulate a compelling vision that inspires and motivates the team. Clear communication helps paint a vivid picture of the future and enables team members to understand their roles in achieving that vision. When the leader communicates their passion and commitment to a Common Shared Purpose, it fosters a sense of unified direction and focus among the team.
2. Building Trust and Relationships: Trust is the cornerstone of any successful team. Effective leaders create an environment of openness and transparency where team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. When leaders actively listen and respond empathetically, trust is nurtured, and a positive rapport is established between the leader and their team.
3. Conflict Resolution: Conflicts are inevitable in any team, but how they are addressed determines the team's cohesiveness. Effective leaders communicate diplomatically and empathetically when resolving conflicts, ensuring that all perspectives are heard and considered. This fosters a culture of respect and cooperation, leading to more effective problem-solving and better outcomes.
4. Supporting Innovation and Creativity: An effective leader encourages a culture of innovation and creativity within the team. By promoting open communication and welcoming diverse ideas, leaders can create an atmosphere where team members feel safe to take risks and share their innovative thoughts without fear of judgment. This paves the way for groundbreaking solutions and continuous improvement.
5. Effective Decision-Making: An effective leader's ability to communicate decisively and efficiently is critical during decision-making. Gathering relevant information, consulting with team members, and conveying the final decisions are essential to effective leadership. When team members understand the rationale behind decisions, they are more likely to support and implement them wholeheartedly. Explain the "why."
6. Adapting to Change: Change is constant in today's fast-paced business landscape. Leaders must communicate changes effectively to avoid confusion and resistance. Whether it's organizational restructuring, new strategies, or policy updates, clear communication helps ease the transition and encourages buy-in from the team.
7. Representing the Organization: Leaders often act as the face of the organization to stakeholders, clients, and the public. Effective communication skills are vital when presenting the organization's values, mission, and achievements. A leader's ability to convey the organization's message convincingly can impact its reputation and success.
Emotional intelligence is another crucial skill to develop as a leader. It involves understanding and managing your own emotions while being empathetic and attuned to the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence allows you to build strong relationships, resolve conflicts, and motivate your team members effectively.
Decision-making skills are vital in navigating complex challenges. Effective leaders must learn techniques for making informed and timely decisions, considering various perspectives, and weighing the potential outcomes. Effective decision-making inspires confidence and provides clear direction to the team.
1. Navigating Complexity: Leaders regularly encounter multifaceted challenges in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. Strong decision-making skills enable them to analyze intricate situations, weigh various factors, and arrive at the most appropriate course of action. (see also communication skills)
2. Calculated Risks: Effective leaders must be open to innovative ideas and have the capacity to make bold decisions that promote creativity and progress. Embracing innovation often involves taking calculated risks and departing from conventional approaches, which requires confidence and astute judgment.
3. Crisis Management: During times of crisis, leaders must make critical decisions swiftly and decisively. The ability to remain calm under pressure and make well-considered choices is essential for guiding their teams through challenging situations and minimizing the impact of adverse events.
4. Setting Priorities: Leaders must continually set priorities for their teams and organizations. Decision-making skills help them identify and focus on the most critical tasks and objectives, ensuring that resources are allocated wisely and efforts are channeled toward achieving strategic goals.
5. Encouraging Accountability: Effective decision-making is also about taking responsibility for the outcomes, whether they are positive or negative. Leaders who own their decisions and learn from both successes and failures foster a culture of accountability within their teams.
6. Maximizing Efficiency: Indecisiveness can lead to delays and missed opportunities. Effective leaders streamline decision-making processes, ensuring that the right people are involved, information is readily available, and choices are made on time. This may mean making decisions with enough information, not necessarily all the information you would like. This helps maintain momentum and efficiency within the organization.
7. Empowering Team Members: Decision-making isn't solely the responsibility of the leader; they must empower their team members to make decisions within their areas of expertise. Effective leaders who delegate decision-making authority demonstrate trust in their team and enable the organization to capitalize on its members' collective knowledge and skills.
8. Alignment with Core Values: An effective leader's decisions should be aligned with the organization's core values and long-term vision. Consistency in decision-making reinforces the organization's identity and ensures that actions are congruent with its mission and principles.
9. Enhancing Organizational Performance: An effective leader's decision-making quality profoundly impacts organizational performance. Well-considered and strategically aligned decisions lead to improved efficiency, higher employee morale, increased innovation, and overall success.
Adaptability is also essential in today's rapidly changing world. Leaders must be open to new ideas and approaches, embracing change and guiding their team through uncertainty. Flexibility and a growth mindset allow leaders to navigate challenges with agility and inspire their teams to embrace change as well.
a) The leadership crisis, characterized by a shortage of competent leaders, highlights the need for leaders who can quickly adapt to new roles and responsibilities. Organizations are in need to rely on emerging leaders to step up and fill higher-level leadership gaps. An effective leader can swiftly adjust to the demands of their new position, taking on leadership roles effectively and learning while leading.
b) Lack of Mentorship for New Leaders: As experienced leaders retire or move on to other opportunities, there can be a lack of mentorship for new leaders stepping into their shoes. In the absence of direct guidance, adaptable leaders can take the initiative to seek out resources, self-learn, and adapt their leadership styles based on the organization's needs and the challenges they encounter. They can embrace continuous learning and personal growth to become effective leaders despite the lack of traditional mentorship.
c) Fast-Paced Business World and AI Innovations: The business landscape is evolving rapidly due to technological innovations like artificial intelligence and automation. Leaders must adapt to leverage these advancements to their organization's advantage. Effective leaders embrace change, explore innovative solutions, and proactively integrate new technologies into their strategies. They lead their teams in embracing these changes and use them to enhance productivity and competitiveness.
d) Dealing with Uncertainty: Today's business environment's uncertain and unpredictable nature demands leaders who can handle ambiguity and pivot their strategies as needed. Effective leaders don't shy away from uncertainty; they remain open-minded, flexible, and responsive to changing circumstances, allowing them to make more informed decisions and chart the course through uncertainty. Look for ways to lean into uncertainty versus fight or resist it; by doing so, come out stronger!
e) Talent Retention and Engagement: In a dynamic job market where talent is in high demand, organizations need leaders who can adapt their leadership styles to retain and engage top performers. Effective leaders are attuned to the needs and aspirations of their team members, and they adjust their management approach to create an inclusive and supportive environment that fosters loyalty and commitment.
Build and Empower Your Team
The success of a leader lies in the success of their team. To build a high-performing team, focus on recruiting individuals who complement your skills and contribute to the team's overall success. Recognize and leverage your team's diverse strengths and talents to achieve collective goals.
Delegating tasks and responsibilities is essential for empowering your team members to grow and take ownership. By assigning meaningful tasks, you demonstrate trust in their abilities and provide opportunities for skill development. Effective delegation fosters a sense of ownership and accountability among team members, leading to increased engagement and productivity. However, delegate to elevate. Meaning delegating tasks that provide growth and development for the delegate.
Creating a supportive and inclusive work environment is crucial for team success. Encourage collaboration and innovation by fostering a culture that values diverse perspectives and ideas. Establish open lines of communication where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. Provide coaching and mentorship opportunities to help your team members develop their skills and reach their full potential.
Lead by Example
Leading by example is a cornerstone of effective leadership. As a leader, it is vital to set high professionalism, integrity, and ethical behavior standards. Demonstrate a strong work ethic and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement. You inspire your team members to do the same by showing dedication and a thirst for knowledge.
Be accessible and approachable as a leader, encouraging open communication and trust among your team members. Actively listen to their ideas, concerns, and feedback, and respond with empathy and respect. Building a culture of trust and open communication enables your team to feel valued and supported, fostering collaboration and innovation.
1. Establishing Trust and Credibility: When leaders model the behaviours they expect from their team, they build trust and credibility. Team members are more likely to trust a leader who practices what they preach, making it easier to rally the team behind a Common Shared Purpose and initiatives.
2. Fostering a Positive Culture: Effective Leaders set the tone for the organizational culture. By embodying the values and principles they wish to instill, they encourage a positive and productive work environment. When employees witness their leaders acting ethically, respectfully, and with integrity, they are more likely to follow suit.
3. Enhancing Accountability: Leading by example reinforces the importance of accountability. When a leader takes responsibility for their actions and decisions, it encourages team members to do the same. This accountability creates a culture of ownership where everyone is committed to achieving a Common Shared Purpose.
4. Building Stronger Relationships: Leading by example fosters stronger relationships between leaders and their team members. When leaders actively participate in team activities, collaborate with the team, and support their development, it creates a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect.
Inspire and Motivate
Great leaders have the power to inspire and motivate their teams to achieve extraordinary results. Clearly communicate the vision and goals of the organization, ensuring that each team member understands their role in the bigger picture. Paint a compelling picture of the future and inspire your team members to share in your vision.
Recognize and appreciate the contributions of your team members. Celebrate milestones, achievements, and individual successes to create a culture of appreciation and encouragement. Show genuine interest in their personal and professional development and provide opportunities for growth, learning, and advancement. Investing in your team's growth demonstrates your commitment to their success.
Cultivate a positive and motivating work culture. Encourage a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, where individuals feel supported and motivated to excel. Foster an environment that encourages innovation, creativity, and calculated risk-taking. Creating an atmosphere of trust and psychological safety inspires your team members to bring their best selves to work.
Continuously Learn and Evolve
Leadership is a lifelong journey of learning and growth. Stay updated on the latest trends and developments in your industry, as this knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions and guide your team effectively. Seek out learning opportunities through books, courses, seminars, and networking events. Embrace feedback and learn from both successes and failures, using each experience as a stepping stone for improvement.
Encourage a culture of continuous learning within your team as well. Provide resources and opportunities for professional development, enabling your team members to enhance their skills and stay relevant in their respective fields. By fostering a learning mindset, you create an environment where everyone is encouraged to grow and evolve.
Effective leadership is a transformative force that has the power to create a positive impact and drive exceptional results within an organization. It is not just about occupying a position of authority; it involves possessing a unique set of skills, qualities, and strategies that empower leaders to navigate challenges, inspire their teams, and foster an environment of growth and high performance leadership.
Self-awareness encompasses understanding the impact one has on others and how you are perceived as a leader. By being mindful of behaviours and communication styles, effective leaders can build stronger relationships and foster trust within their teams. This awareness allows them to adapt their leadership approach to effectively meet their team members' needs.
Effective communication is paramount for effective leaders. It is about conveying information and actively listening to team members, articulating ideas clearly, and providing constructive feedback. Communication is a two-way street, and effective leaders prioritize engaging in open and transparent dialogues with their team members. This open communication fosters trust, understanding, and a sense of unity within the team.
Another crucial aspect of effective leadership is inspiring vision and direction through a Common Shared Purpose. An effective leader must articulate a compelling vision that inspires and motivates the team. Clear communication helps paint a vivid picture of the future and enables team members to understand their roles in achieving that vision. When the leader communicates their passion and commitment to the shared goals, it fosters a sense of purpose and dedication among the team.
Building trust and relationships is the cornerstone of any successful team. Effective leaders create an environment of openness and transparency where team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. When leaders actively listen and respond empathetically, trust is nurtured, and a positive rapport is established between the leader and their team. This trust and psychological safety environment encourages collaboration, creativity, and risk-taking, leading to more effective problem-solving and better outcomes.
Conflict resolution is another essential skill for effective leaders. Conflicts are inevitable in any team, but how they are addressed determines the team's cohesiveness. Effective leaders communicate diplomatically and empathetically when resolving conflicts, ensuring that all perspectives are heard and considered. This fosters a culture of respect and cooperation, where differences are seen as opportunities for growth and learning.
Leading by example is a cornerstone of effective leadership. As leaders, it is vital to set high standards of professionalism, integrity, and ethical behaviour. By demonstrating a strong work ethic and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, leaders inspire their team members to do the same. Effective leaders must be accessible and approachable, encouraging open communication and trust among their team members. Actively listening to their ideas, concerns, and feedback and responding with empathy and respect builds a culture of trust and open communication, enabling the team to feel valued and supported.
Empowering teams through delegation and recognizing diverse strengths leads to high performance leaders. Effective leaders understand that they cannot do everything themselves and that they must trust their team members to take ownership of tasks and responsibilities. Delegate to elevate by assigning meaningful tasks; leaders demonstrate trust in their team's abilities and provide opportunities for skill development. This effective delegation fosters a sense of ownership and accountability among team members, leading to increased engagement and productivity.
Inspiring and motivating teams is an essential aspect of effective leadership. Great leaders have the power to inspire and motivate their teams to achieve extraordinary results. By clearly communicating the organization's vision and goals and ensuring that each team member understands their role in the bigger picture, leaders can paint a compelling picture of the future and inspire their team members to share in their vision. Recognizing and appreciating the contributions of team members and celebrating milestones and achievements create a culture of appreciation and encouragement.
Continuous learning and evolution are critical for ongoing growth and success in leadership. Leadership is a lifelong journey of learning and development. Effective leaders stay updated on the latest trends and developments in their industry, as this knowledge enables them to make informed decisions and guide their teams effectively. Seeking learning opportunities through books, courses, seminars, and networking events, leaders embrace feedback and learn from successes and failures, using each experience as a stepping stone for improvement. By fostering a learning mindset within their teams, leaders also create an environment where everyone is encouraged to grow and evolve, driving the organization toward sustained success.
Effective leadership is a multi-faceted journey that requires self-awareness, strong communication skills, inspiring vision, trust-building, adaptability, and leading by example. By cultivating these aspects of leadership, individuals can unleash their full potential as effective leaders, making a lasting difference in their organizations and inspiring growth and high performance leaders within their teams, leading the next generation of effective leaders.
Working with various clients and in a number of coaching calls, we've found that many High Performing Leaders struggle holding their team accountable.
While accountability is an uncomfortable topic for many leaders, it is essential in any organization. It is the foundation of trust and integrity, which are crucial in building a successful team and high performance cultures.
When it comes to leadership accountability, it is even more important as leaders set the tone for the organization's culture and its performance. Leaders who hold their team members accountable not only drive their organizations towards success but also create a culture of excellence and mutual trust.
Here we will discuss the importance of leadership accountability, the consequences of poor accountability, the reasons for leaders' fear of accountability, why team members are afraid of accountability, and how leaders can hold their team members accountable.
The Importance of Team Member Accountability
Leaders who hold their team members accountable set the standard for the organization. They demonstrate the importance of deadlines, quality, and expectations. When team members are held accountable, they are more likely to take their work seriously, leading to better performance and productivity. In addition, accountability creates a culture of responsibility and ownership. Team members are more likely to take ownership of their work and the success of the organization.
Holding team members accountable helps leaders identify areas where improvements are needed. Leaders can identify gaps in skills, training, and communication, which can then be addressed. This leads to a continuous improvement cycle, which can result in higher quality work and better outcomes.
Leaders Accountability to Their Team Members
Leaders must lead by example. This means that they must be accountable to their team members, just as they expect their team members to be accountable to them. When leaders are accountable to their team members, they demonstrate the importance of honesty, integrity, and transparency. This creates a culture of mutual trust, where team members feel safe to share their opinions and ideas.
When leaders hold themselves accountable for their actions and decisions, they demonstrate to their team members the importance of taking ownership and responsibility for their work. This, in turn, leads to team members feeling empowered and motivated to perform their best.
Empowered leaders who lead by example create a sense of integrity and credibility within the organization. When team members see their leaders walking the talk and taking responsibility for their actions, they are more likely to trust them and follow their lead. This trust and respect create a positive work environment where team members feel valued and respected. This further encourages team members to hold themselves to higher levels of accountability. They can see the benefits through their leader's example.
When no individual is exempted from this loop of accountability, no one will feel as if they are personally being "picked on" or singled out among their peers negatively. When everyone is accountable, the only ones who stand out are those who are not meeting their commitments.
Consequences of Poor Accountability
Poor accountability can have significant consequences for an organization. When team members are not held accountable, they may not take their work seriously, leading to low-quality work and missing or even dismissing deadlines. This can damage the reputation of the organization and lead to lost business opportunities. In addition, poor accountability can result in a toxic work environment, where team members blame each other for mistakes and avoid taking ownership of their work. This can lead to low morale, high turnover, and a negative culture.
Furthermore, poor accountability can have legal and financial consequences. For example, if an organization fails to comply with regulations or laws, it can face legal action and financial penalties. Similarly, if an organization fails to meet its contractual obligations, it can lose business and face financial penalties.
As you can see, poor accountability can very quickly spill over and spread like a horrible fungus through the work environment, making work toxic and dangerous for everyone, including customers!
Consequences, by definition, are the results or effects that follow from a particular action or decision. They can be positive or negative, and they are essential to creating a sense of accountability in the workplace. When consequences are clear and consistent, they help team members understand the importance of their actions and their impact on the business's success.
One of the most critical aspects of consequences is that they must be communicated clearly and in advance. When team members understand the potential outcomes of their actions, they are more likely to take their responsibilities seriously and work to meet their commitments. Additionally, clear communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and understands the expectations.
Positive consequences can be used to reinforce good behaviour and motivate team members to continue performing at a high level. For example, an employee who consistently exceeds expectations could be given a promotion or a bonus as a reward for their hard work. Positive consequences recognize good performance and create a positive and productive workplace high performance culture that encourages team members to strive for excellence.
On the other hand, negative consequences must be used sparingly and only as a last resort. When team members fail to meet their commitments or exhibit problematic behaviour, negative consequences are necessary to ensure accountability. However, it's important to note that negative consequences should be fair, consistent, and proportional to the offence.
For example, a team member who consistently misses deadlines despite repeated warnings may need to face consequences such as a no, or low pay increase, demotion, or even termination. However, these consequences should be used as a last resort and only after other measures have been exhausted. Negative consequences should also be communicated clearly in advance so that team members understand the seriousness of their actions and the potential outcomes. It's important to note that consequences should be applied equally and fairly to all team members. Inconsistent or unfair consequences can quickly erode trust and undermine accountability. Leaders must be consistent in their application of consequences and ensure that they are aligned with the values and goals of the business.
Ultimately, consequences are essential in maintaining accountability in business. They provide a clear incentive for team members to meet their commitments and perform at a high level. By communicating consequences clearly and fairly, leaders can create a culture of accountability that fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among team members.
Leaders' Fear & Hesitation to Holding Team Members Accountable
Despite the importance of holding team members accountable, many leaders hesitate or fear doing so. This can be due to several reasons, including:
Fear of Conflict: Many leaders avoid holding team members accountable because they want to avoid conflict. They may worry that holding team members accountable will damage relationships or cause further interpersonal damage.
Lack of Communication Skills: Some leaders lack the communication skills to hold team members accountable. They may struggle to provide feedback or address issues in a constructive and respectful manner.
Fear of Losing Talent: Some leaders may hesitate to hold team members accountable because they fear losing talent. They may worry that holding team members accountable will lead to high turnover or that team members will become resentful and disengaged.
Fear of Offending: Most commonly, leaders fear they will offend or hurt team members' feelings when trying to create accountability. This fear is a combination of all the above.
How to Move Past These Fears
Fear of Conflict:
1) Develop Conflict Resolution Skills: Leaders can learn conflict resolution skills, such as active listening, empathy, and problem-solving, to handle conflict effectively.
2) Establish Clear Expectations: Leaders can establish clear expectations with team members, including performance standards, goals, and deadlines. This helps avoid misunderstandings and conflict in the future.
3) Provide Constructive Feedback: Leaders can provide constructive feedback, focusing on specific behaviours and actions rather than personality or character. (Future post?)
Lack of Communication Skills:
1) Invest in Communication Training: Leaders can invest in communication training to improve their communication skills, including active listening, effective feedback, and non-verbal communication. Try looking at LinkedIn and Teachable for these types of programs if they are not offered internally at your company.
2) Practice Open Communication: Leaders can practice open communication, including regular check-ins, team meetings, and one-on-one discussions. This helps create a culture of open communication and feedback.
3) Seek Feedback: Leaders can seek feedback from team members on their communication style, including areas for improvement and strengths. Learn how your team best responds to feedback and try to work accordingly when giving difficult feedback.
Fear of Losing Talent:
1) Focus on Development: Leaders can focus on developing team members, including coaching, mentoring, and training. This helps improve performance and increase retention. In fact, providing higher levels of accountability can be an integral part of a retention strategy.
2) Provide Opportunities for Growth: Leaders can provide opportunities for growth, including challenging assignments, cross-functional projects, and skill-building activities. This helps keep team members engaged and motivated. Be sure to only offer such opportunities to deserving team members. If one team member is particularly struggling to meet commitments, adding to their workload with high profile tasks/opportunities will cause more harm than good.
3) Set Clear Expectations: Leaders can set clear expectations with team members, including performance standards, goals, and career paths. This helps team members understand what is expected of them and how they can progress in their careers. In some cases, locating or creating job descriptions outlining such expectations and requirements for the position in question might be helpful.
Fear of Offending:
1) Focus on Behaviours, Not People: Leaders can focus on specific behaviours and actions rather than personality or character. This helps keep the conversation constructive and avoids personal attacks.
2) Emphasize the Positive: Leaders can emphasize the positive, including team members' strengths and contributions. This helps balance constructive feedback with positive reinforcement. Try the two positives and one opportunity approach: Start the meeting with two positives and pointing out where the team member has recently been successful and what specifically did they do that contributed to the successes. Next identify one opportunity for improvement, giving detailed specific examples and being careful to remove any personality or character accusations. Stick to the facts. "Project x was delayed by 3 days with no communication or explanation. Is there something that I don’t know about that caused this to take place?" End the conversation by coming up with a plan of action that meets both parties' expectations and prevents the incident from reoccurring.
3) Create a Safe Space: Leaders can create a safe space for feedback and communication where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions. This helps build trust and fosters a culture of open communication. You can do this by providing support, and asking the team member what kind of assistance or help they may need to meet their commitments.
Ways to Enforce Accountability
Understanding the importance of accountability and the different strategies for overcoming anxieties of approaching accountability with your team, it's time to
talk about concrete ways to enforce it. After all, accountability cannot happen if there is no consequence for unaccountability or inactive behaviour. While not all transgressions warrant such drastic results as termination or formal warnings, several proactive approaches remain to "turning up the heat" and holding team members accountable.
1) More Frequent Status Reviews and Check-Ins: Regular status reviews and check-ins provide valuable opportunities for team members to share progress updates and discuss any challenges they are facing. By increasing the frequency of these interactions, leaders can foster accountability and keep a close eye on project advancement. Frequent check-ins also enable timely feedback and corrective actions, allowing the team to address issues before they escalate.
2) Breaking Down Larger Deliverables: Sometimes, complex or lengthy deliverables can lack transparency and accountability. Breaking them down into smaller, more manageable tasks allows for better tracking of progress and provides more frequent opportunities to assess performance. Regularly reviewing these smaller milestones helps identify potential bottlenecks or areas where additional support may be required. This is a great way to provide support while maintaining accountability.
3) Scheduling Reviews at Less "Popular" Times: Leaders can ensure that team members remain attentive and engaged by scheduling status reviews and meetings at less convenient times, such as early mornings or late afternoons. This approach prompts individuals to take accountability for their time management, encouraging punctuality and focused participation. It also demonstrates the team leader's commitment to fostering accountability throughout the organization.
4) Temporarily Reassigning "Liked" Responsibilities: To address accountability issues, team leaders may consider temporarily reassigning tasks or responsibilities that struggling team members particularly enjoy. This approach can be a powerful motivator for improved performance as individuals realize the consequences of their actions and strive to regain the projects they had previously enjoyed. It also encourages a more balanced distribution of workload and prevents complacency.
5) Removing Perceived Perks until Performance Improves: If team members are consistently underperforming, leaders might temporarily withdraw certain perceived perks, such as the option to work remotely or flexible scheduling. Leaders encourage accountability and a strong work ethic by aligning these privileges with consistent, high-quality performance. However, it is important to communicate clearly the conditions for reinstating these benefits, ensuring that team members understand the expectations and goals they need to meet.
Holding team members accountable is crucial for achieving project success and maintaining a high-performance culture. By implementing strategies such as more frequent status reviews, breaking down deliverables, scheduling reviews at less convenient times, temporarily reassigning responsibilities, and adjusting perceived perks, leaders can effectively turn up the heat and foster a culture of accountability within their teams. These approaches promote individual responsibility and contribute to overall team productivity and success.
Accountability is crucial for effective leadership and business success, but many leaders face various reservations and challenges that hinder them from maintaining it. These include conflict avoidance, communication skills, fear of losing talent, and anxiety about offending team members. Overcoming these concerns requires leaders to approach accountability with empathy, active listening, and a focus on problem-solving rather than blame. Leaders can also invest in communication training and coaching to improve their communication skills, provide regular feedback and coaching to their team members, and create a culture of accountability that promotes individual and organizational growth. Ultimately, having consequences in business is essential to maintain accountability and promote a high performance culture of responsibility and ownership. Leaders must take action when team members fail to meet expectations or violate policies to maintain accountability and ensure the success of the business.
What is high performance leadership?
High performance leadership is a leadership style that is characterized by a focus on achieving exceptional results through effective team building, strategic planning, and strong communication skills. It is a type of leadership that inspires and motivates individuals and teams to work towards common goals and achieve excellence.
High performance leadership is not just about managing a team or getting tasks done. It’s about inspiring people to work together towards a common shared purpose. To create and achieve a high performance team, it’s important to create a common shared purpose for the team that is aligned with the overall organization’s vision and strategy. This common shared purpose should be specific enough that each team member knows how their team contributes to the organization’s vision and their explicit role within the team. When teams understand their purpose and see how their contributions are important, they are more motivated and engaged, resulting in better outcomes and overall success for the organization.
The three high performance leadership essentials for high performance teams
Why is a common shared purpose important?
A common shared purpose is crucial for any high performance team, as it helps align everyone toward the same goal. A team without a common shared purpose is like a ship without a destination. It may have a crew, but without a clear direction, it will drift aimlessly. When everyone understands the purpose and direction of the team, they can work together more efficiently and effectively. A common shared purpose brings the team together, and each member feels part of something bigger than themselves.
“Feels part of something bigger than themselves”
A common shared purpose creates a sense of belonging and commitment to the team. When people feel like they are part of a team working towards a common shared purpose and goal, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. It also helps team members see how their contributions are valuable, and this leads to a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in their work. When individuals see how their work contributes to the greater good, they are more motivated to do their best.
Creating a common shared purpose aligned with the organization’s vision
A common shared purpose must be aligned with the organization’s vision and strategy. The vision is the long-term goal or destination that the organization aims to achieve, while the strategy outlines the approach and actions required to reach that goal. The common shared purpose of the team must fit into this broader vision and strategy, and each team member should understand how their team’s work contributes to achieving this vision.
A common shared purpose should also be specific and measurable. Vague goals such as “improve customer satisfaction” or “increase revenue” are not enough. Instead, the team’s common shared purpose should be more specific, such as “reduce customer complaints by 50%” or “increase revenue by 10% in the next quarter”. Specific goals give the team a clear target to aim for, and it’s easier to measure progress and success.
When creating a common shared purpose, involving the team in the process is important. By involving team members, you can gain their input and feedback, and this creates a greater sense of ownership and commitment to the purpose. When people feel like they have contributed to creating a common shared purpose, they are more likely to be invested in it and work towards achieving it.
How a common shared purpose leads to success and accountability
A common shared purpose provides focus and direction for a high performance team. When everyone knows what they are working towards, it’s easier to prioritize tasks and make decisions that align with the purpose. This helps the team avoid distractions and focus on the important work contributing to the organization’s vision and strategy.
In high performance teams, a common shared purpose creates a sense of accountability. When everyone understands the purpose and their role in achieving it, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and be accountable for their actions. This creates a culture of responsibility and accountability, where everyone is committed to doing their best to achieve the common shared purpose.
A common shared purpose also promotes collaboration and teamwork. When everyone understands their role and how it contributes to the greater goal, there will be more collaboration to achieve success. This creates a culture of teamwork and cooperation, where everyone is working towards the same goal rather than focusing solely on their individual tasks.
How a common shared purpose creates proven competency
A common shared purpose is a powerful driver of proven competency among team members. When everyone on the team is aligned around a common shared purpose, they understand what competencies are necessary to accomplish that goal. This shared understanding and proven competency with each other create a sense of accountability and responsibility among team members, motivating them to develop and improve the skills required to achieve their objectives.
Collaboration is essential in ensuring the team has the proven competencies to become a high performance team. Cross-training is an effective way to develop and improve the proven competencies of team members. When team members work together to share knowledge and skills, they learn from each other's experiences and become more capable of working towards a common shared purpose. Additionally, cross-training helps to build trust among team members, which is essential for effective collaboration. By sharing expertise and supporting each other, team members can work together more efficiently and effectively, creating a positive feedback loop that leads to higher performance and greater success. Ultimately, a common shared purpose and a collaborative approach to building proven competencies are critical components of a high performance team.
A common shared purpose helps create a positive work culture when people feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.
Formula One example of common shared purpose, proven competency, and accountability
An example of high performance leadership and the resulting high performance team that we often reference in our leadership development programs is that of a Formula One racing team. In Formula One racing, every member of the team plays a vital role in achieving the ultimate goal of winning the race or achieving a points goal for the season. One of the most critical teams is the pit crew, who provide the necessary services to the car during pit stops in the fastest time possible.
The pit crew's common shared purpose is to work together seamlessly and efficiently to service the car and get it back on the track as quickly as possible. The pit crew comprises several highly skilled individuals, each with a specific role to play. Some team members are responsible for changing the tires, while others refuel the car, and some adjust the aerodynamics of the car.
In a race where every second counts, the pit crew's ability to provide fast and efficient services is crucial. The time spent in the pits can make the difference between winning and losing the race. As a result, the pit crew must have the proven competency to work with precision and focus on ensuring that the car is serviced correctly and efficiently.
The pit crew's contribution to the team's vision of winning the race cannot be overstated. By providing the necessary services in the shortest time possible, they help minimize the time the car spends in the pits, allowing the driver to get back on the track quickly and maintain a competitive position.
The pit crew's efforts and accountability to each other and the greater team also help improve the driver's confidence and motivation, knowing they have a reliable and efficient team behind them. This can be critical in a race where the slightest mistake can result in a significant setback.
The pit crew plays a vital role in Formula One racing, and their common shared purpose is to provide the necessary services to the car in the fastest time possible. Achieving the overall team’s goal of winning the race or finishing the season with a targeted number of points isn’t entirely within their control or responsibility. However, by clearly understanding their common shared purpose, demonstrating proven competency, and having high accountability to each other and the entire racing team, they are able to expertly do their part in performing the most effective and efficient pit stops that will certainly make a difference in achieving the overall team’s goals.
High performance leadership steps for High performance teams
1. Define a clear mission: In high performance leadership requires leaders to establish a clear and concise mission statement that outlines the team's common shared purpose and objectives. This statement should be communicated effectively to every member of the team and serve as a guiding principle for all decisions and actions.
2. Foster a sense of accountability: In high performance leadership, leaders should encourage team members to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities and to be accountable to each other. They should empower them to make decisions and take actions that align with the team’s mission and common shared purpose.
3. Build a culture of collaboration: In high performance leadership, leaders should foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork. They should encourage open communication, trust, and respect among team members and create a safe no blame environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions and learning from mistakes.
4. Provide opportunities for growth: In high performance leadership, leaders should provide opportunities for team members to learn and grow. This can be achieved through training programs, mentoring, or coaching. By investing in their development, leaders show that they value their team members and are committed to their success.
5. Celebrate success: In high performance leadership, leaders should recognize and celebrate team successes. This can be done through public or private recognition, rewards, or incentives. Celebrating success reinforces the importance of the common shared purpose and motivates team members to continue working towards the organization's objectives.
6. Lead by example: High performance leaders must lead by example. They need to consistently demonstrate the behaviours and actions that they expect from their team members. By modelling the values and principles of the organization, leaders can create a culture that reinforces the shared common purpose and inspires everyone to work towards achieving it.
Does the thought of 'spring break' or vacation cause you grief? Taking a vacation is a great way to relax, recharge and rejuvenate, but it can also be a source of stress for some people. Whether it's the preparation for leaving work or the stress of catching up when you return, the whole experience can be overwhelming. It doesn't have to be this way. That's why taking steps to reduce stress before you go on vacation and after you return is important. Here are some things you can do to help! If you've seen them before, it might still be worth a skim through as a reminder.
Just recently, having the opportunity to take a vacation with my family reminded me how stressful a vacation can be, unfortunately. With the official “spring break” quickly approaching, I thought some might find a refresh of a previous article helpful and timely. In today's world of always being connected and the ongoing expectations and demands placed on us in our work lives, it can be difficult for many to get away on vacation easily. Then there is the mess when we return! The result too often is that the week before we leave is high stress, and the week we return is brutal! Then there is the time we are actually off on vacation. Regardless of whether we can disconnect while away, the first few days can be tough as we de-stress from the week before, and then a few days before the end of the vacation, we begin to think of what awaits our return, and the stress and anxiety ramps up.
To help a little, I've refreshed and re-posted some information from previous posts that may help.
Before you go:
Many of us never really leave work while on vacation. Or, don’t leave it long enough to disengage to maximize the many benefits of our vacations and enjoy it!
Here are a few reminders of why it's a good idea to disengage while on vacation:
To sum it up with the adage,
"No one on their deathbed ever said, 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office."
Don't wait until then to figure this out!
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Please share your vacation stress reducing tips in the comments!
In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and burnt out. Interruptions can be a significant cause of burnout for team members, leading to decreased productivity and morale. However, in leadership, one of the leader’s primary roles is to “Protect the Core,” or in other words, protect your team from interruptions and burnout. Protect the Core is about shielding your team from interruptions that distract them from focusing on their core priorities or responsibilities. It's about watching out for their well-being. It's a double edged sword actually. An effective leader, protects their core team, and by doing so, protects the core responsibilities of the team at the same time.
Here are ten steps a leader can take to “Protect the Core”:
Ten Steps to protect your team from interruptions and burnout
1. Set clear goals and expectations:
A common mistake a leader can make is to assume that all their team members understand their goals and the expectations of them. Instead, when the team is under pressure or the leader suspects that team members are feeling overwhelmed, they should start by reviewing individual team members’ goals to ensure they are, in fact, the current priority. Often the need to change priorities can go undetected as the team member may be unaware of the priority change. In addition, a review of expectations helps ensure everyone is aligned on what needs to be done and when and what doesn’t. Things can get lost in the shuffle, and tasks that were once important may no longer be necessary and can be stopped, or at the very least, can be paused for some time.
A daily huddle board is a visual management tool used by teams to quickly and easily communicate updates, progress, and issues related to a specific project or process. The board is typically displayed in a common area where all team members can easily access it at any time.
The huddle board usually consists of several sections or columns, each representing a different aspect of the project or process being tracked. These sections may include:
During the daily huddle, team members gather around the board to review progress, identify any issues or blockers, and discuss necessary adjustments or next steps. This brief daily meeting helps ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. The leader needs to tackle any barriers beyond the team member's control that prevent them from accomplishing their priorities.
Part of a team communication plan should include establishing some guidelines or team code of conduct around when people can be interrupted. Simple visual cues as simple as coloured paper or sticky notes to indicate when someone can be interrupted work very effectively. For example, green paper means ‘come on in’ or open for interruptions; yellow may mean focused work, only interrupt if it cannot wait, and red meaning do not interrupt unless it is an absolute emergency. It is also essential to clearly define what cannot wait and what is an absolute emergency. Another simple example is if someone has their headset on, they should not be interrupted.
Research indicates that humans need a mental break every 90 to 120 minutes. Setting a timer on a cell phone or another electronic prompt effectively reminds you that you need to step away for a few minutes, re-energize, and regroup.
Rather than asking team members if they are keeping busy or even the general how they are doing, ask them if they have adequate time to think and plan. Unfortunately, poor cultural norms sometimes prevent team members from admitting they are overworked or overwhelmed. By asking them if they have adequate time to think and plan, a leader is likely to get a more accurate response to the team members' current workload and state of mind. A leader needs to create a culture and environment where not only will their team tell them they have too much work, but the leader rewards them for doing so. This means the leader has to be intentional about their questions and responses.
A leader should model open communication by being transparent and honest with their team. Share information openly and quickly, and encourage others to do the same. Ensure that all team members are respectful of each other and that everyone's ideas and opinions are valued. When conflicts arise, and they will occur during challenging times, address them quickly and fairly. Encourage team members to work through conflicts together and find solutions.
If remote work is not an option, create a quiet space for team members to work in. This could be a private office or a designated quiet area where team members can focus on their work without distractions. The cafeteria outside break times can often be an ideal place to escape interruptions! Sometimes a change of location can be as good as a rest.
Meetings can be a significant source of interruptions and distractions, leading to burnout. Minimize the number of meetings, and keep them short and focused. Encourage team members to attend only the meetings that are essential for their work. Let them know it’s ok to decline a meeting if it is not essential to their priorities. It is also important to establish what is and is not deemed essential while maintaining respect and professionalism when declining meeting requests.
Implementing a meeting standard duration of 20 or 50 minutes is a great way to improve meeting efficiency and reduce the burden on your team members. Learn more about this in our article Time Saving Tip!
Regularly check in with team members to assess their workload and stress levels. Look for signs of burnout, such as decreased motivation, productivity, and absenteeism. Take action to address burnout when it is identified, such as reducing workload or providing additional support.
Protecting the Core from interruptions and preventing burnout requires a multifaceted approach. However, by following and implementing these ten steps, leaders can create a supportive and productive environment for their team members, significantly reducing the risk of burnout.
You're not alone if you lack even a little leadership confidence. A lack of leadership confidence is very common and is nothing to worry about or be concerned with. However, you do need to develop higher confidence to become a high performing leader.
There are steps you can take to increase your confidence quickly. A lack of leadership confidence shouldn’t be a surprise either, as few leaders receive leadership development before taking on new leadership roles, and their senior level leaders often do not have the bandwidth or don’t make the time to coach and mentor them to the required level.
Here are 10 ways to develop your leadership confidence (click on any method to get more information about it):
Prioritize based on your biggest opportunities and take on only one or two at a time. Add new ones as you become proficient in the prioritized areas. You are likely to notice a change in your confidence very quickly.
Is leadership confidence a concern?
In our article “Concerned? Is there a leadership development crisis?”, we discussed how 77%* of organizations report that leadership within their teams is lacking and that only 5%* of companies have implemented leadership development at all levels! Understanding this, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that many new or less experienced leaders lack leadership confidence.
“77% of organizations report that leadership within their teams is lacking and that only 5% of companies have implemented leadership development at all levels!
From our direct engagement with leaders through our leadership development programs, coaching, and on-site client projects, we have seen an increasing trend of leaders lacking confidence in their approach, response to team member issues, or their own decision making. These leaders exhibit high concern levels of making mistakes and seek assurance that they have done the right thing. The biggest risks we see are in matters that touch upon legal, legislation, and precedence setting.
There is good news here, too, though. We also see that, for the most part, these leaders are definitely on the right track. Rarely do we hear of situations or examples where they have made a mistake and never where they have made irreversible ones. Their asking for feedback also shows their maturity and desire to be the best leaders they can be. Although there is a reason for some concern, we can work with this!
It's not you; it’s us
So what might be driving this? Have new, less experienced leaders always lacked confidence?
Yes, I believe so! Making the jump from an individual contributor to leading others has always been a challenge when leading for the first time. However, I think it is more difficult for leaders today to get the help and support they need. I propose that the leadership development gap that exists in most organizations today may be driving this increasing trend we are seeing. Many leaders receive virtually no leadership development prior to taking on a leadership role but also have less exposure in the form of coaching, observation, and feedback from experienced leaders. Working remotely through COVID also didn’t help in these areas! There is also a lower tolerance in the leaders themselves for making mistakes. They hold themselves to a very high bar.
If you are a leader that lacks leadership confidence, be assured that it’s not you; it’s us! Us in the sense of your organization and experienced leaders who, for various reasons, do not provide the coaching and mentoring you need. Several things distract and detract experienced leaders from providing access and time for new leaders, some legitimate challenges, others not so much. However, we won’t get into those here. Also, know that although you may think only you feel this way, you are not alone.
10 Ways to develop your leadership confidence
1 Active & Healthy Professional Network
Often people consider a professional network as a way to find their next job opportunity. If this is you, you are missing so much! Having an active and healthy network is a must for any leader at all levels. This network and the resulting relationships can be used to share best practices, obtain input and feedback, bounce ideas off, and learn from each other. An active professional network takes time and energy. It should be built before ever seeking new opportunities.
Active means that you spend some time growing and nurturing your network. This does not include accepting any and all requests to connect on LinkedIn. It means maintaining and developing new professional contacts via LinkedIn, periodic 1:1s within your organization, lunches or dinners with past colleagues, and socializing at community or external business functions.
A healthy network flows both to and away from you, where you regularly support others, and they support you. You need to make the effort to respond and spend time with those in your network to help and support them when they need it. As well as not hesitate to reach out and ask them for support or assistance you could use. This is a form of mutual respect and is very rewarding. Your experience potential is greatly magnified as you have much more experience at your fingertips. Not only will you benefit from this experience, but your confidence will go up once you see that you have great experiences and that others have similar challenges.
2 Get a Leadership Coach
When taking up a new sport, we wouldn’t think of not getting some form of coaching. So why do we think we can get a leadership position and not benefit from having a coach?
Good coaching helps us learn quicker, determine the best ways of doing things, and challenge us to do more than we think we are capable of achieving. A coach does not tell us what we should do or how to do it but rather helps us solve our own challenges by asking probing questions and supporting us along the way. Coaches provide a safe environment to share your insecurities and admit your challenges and self-doubt. Having a coach can be a great confidence booster as they help you figure things out yourself.
3 Accept ambiguity in decision making
Typically, there is no right or wrong answer when making decisions. There are bad, better, and good decisions, but not right or wrong. A leader needs to gather the data or facts, solicit input and opinions, and make informed decisions in real time. Not making, excessive debate, or extended delays in making decisions are usually regrettable. We need to make informed decisions with the best information we have at the time and accept that there is always ambiguity in decision making.
4 Open vs closed door decisions
At Amazon, we were taught that there are open and closed door decisions. This was a concept to help leaders make faster decisions and to differentiate that all decisions are not the same and therefore require different levels of consideration in the decision making process.
Open door decisions are those that, once made (you walk through the decision door) can be reversed or changed without any significant difficulty or long term impact. In other words, the door remains open, and you can walk back through it again.
Closed door decisions are those that, once made, cannot be reversed or changed without significant difficulty or long lasting impact.
So then with open door decisions, you can make faster decisions and take more risks with ambiguity. For closed door decisions, you want to be more thorough, involve more stakeholders, conduct trials/pilots, check data/fact, gather more input, and conduct risk assessments, to mention a few. At the same time, recognize there remains some ambiguity.
5 Make values based decisions
Decisions that align or are based on your and your organization’s values are generally good decisions. This is not to say they are easy. Quite the opposite, actually. Often in these types of situations, there are equal but opposite forces at work that can make the decision process very painful. Staying true to values usually proves beneficial when considering and thinking long term. Decisions that go against your values often consider the immediate or short term and can lead to ethical, legal, and cultural impacts on you as the leader and the organization, not to mention a loss of trust and respect.
6 Ask for forgiveness, not permission
It may not be at a conscious level, but when we ask for permission, it lowers our confidence. What if the person doesn’t agree? What will they think of me? What will I do if they don’t agree?
Sure, a little bit of security comes with asking permission as you relieve yourself of some of the accountability. However, long term and continual seeking of permission reduces your ability to make your own decisions and, frankly, does not reflect well on you as a leader. Senior leaders want and expect the leaders below them to make their own decisions.
7 Failure is an option
Yes, failure is an option. Don’t be so afraid of making a mistake that you don’t make a decision or get into the habit of second guessing yourself.
We must accept that we won’t get it right or perfect every time. That’s what we mean here by failure. However, we seldom really fail, either. As long as we make the best decisions with the information available and learn from any mistakes, it’s not a failure! So, get over yourself and your fear of failure! Very few “mistakes” are really failures. Learn and move on.
The only critical failure is if someone gets hurt (or worse) or it’s a closed door decision that goes badly. There are not that many closed door decisions to be made for most leaders, and you’ll handle them a little differently when you do have to make them, as described in point number 4 above.
8 Be the leader you wish you had
This is a great Simon Sinek quote. If you’re struggling with a decision or situation involving your team or a team member, think of this quote, "Be the leader you wish you had." How would you wish or expect your leader to handle it if you weren’t the leader and were on the other side of a situation? That’s probably the best option! This is applicable to how you may handle situations, decisions to make, or actions to take or not take. It’s a simple but effective way to help you think through different situations.
9 Project confidence
First, we’re not advocating becoming arrogant and strutting around as though you know everything. What this means is don’t be a self-doubter. People can sense it, which can impact your reputation, but more so, it again lowers your self-esteem over time.
When I was leading a large and company wide project of significance, I had developed a habit of openly sharing all the problems we were facing in the project at the expense of not mentioning what was going well. I intended to be transparent and expected everything to go as planned, which clearly wasn’t. One day a senior leader asked me how things were going. I quickly rhymed off multiple problems I was dealing with. She then asked me if any of the issues were beyond my ability to resolve. I assured her that I was very capable of taking care of them. At that point, she gave me some advice I have practiced ever since. She told me that it was my job to resolve any issues that arose and that I was expected to do so. I should, without hesitation, escalate if there were any I needed help with. However, telling everyone about every problem that was being experienced would erode the confidence in the project and in me as the leader of it. What I should do was celebrate the wins and manage the misses unless I needed help. Just by doing this, my confidence increased dramatically, as I’m sure the confidence others had in me did as well.
10 Celebrate wins
Make the effort to recognize and celebrate YOUR wins. I’m not necessarily referring to your team’s wins, although I’m not excluding them. It’s important to frequently reflect on your personal wins and determine what you did that led to a successful outcome. These are the things you want to repeat or perhaps double down on the next time. Also, reflecting on the wins may highlight that you have done some good things you may otherwise have overlooked, building your leadership confidence.
Don’t start working on all 10 of these confidence boosters simultaneously. Review them and prioritize based on where you have the biggest opportunities. Tackle one or two at a time. Review your progress at least weekly for what’s working or not working, adjust your actions accordingly, and recognize your progress. As you become proficient in one of the boosters, take on another. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your confidence increases. Don’t forget to enjoy and have fun along the way!
Leave a comment on what ways you use or have used to develop your leadership confidence!
* 25 Surprising Leadership Statistics (2022)
Leadership development is not just about taking a course or reading the latest business book. Although they are essential components of leadership development, more is needed to result in a better return on investment and a more sustained impact for the leader. Effective leadership development combines concept learning opportunities with immediate application in the real world, integrated with internal mentoring to align expectations and build organizational culture and coaching to develop leader confidence quickly.
Should you be concerned about leadership development? Yes, from at least two points of view. First, is leadership development a priority in your organization or just when there is time? Second, is there a structured and integrated leadership development approach and methodology, or is it a free for all? If leadership development in your organization happens just when there is time or is a free for all, then perhaps it’s cause for concern and a call to action to be more intentional about your leadership development. Is there a crisis? Yes, because there are more leadership positions opening than organizations are able to fill due to a void of prepared and experienced leaders.
An effective leadership development program should contain these 4 components:
Are you concerned about your leadership development or that of those within your organization?
Recent retirement trends are leaving a significant leadership gap in many organizations. At the same time, many up-and-coming leaders are concerned that they are not getting the leadership development they need to be successful leaders or to be prepared for these opening positions.
In addition, although leadership development programs are available in abundance, many are not aligned with the organization’s culture, don’t help the leaders apply what they learn within their day-to-day responsibilities, and, as a result, lack sustained impact on the leader and the organization.
So, if you are not concerned, you should be!
The Scary Truth
A shocking 77%* of organizations report that leadership within their teams is lacking. 83%* say leadership development at all levels of their organization is a priority. However, the scary part is that less than 5%* of companies have implemented leadership development at all levels!
“Less than 5%* of companies have implemented leadership development at all levels!
With senior-level and the most experienced leaders retiring from the workforce in high numbers, 50%* of companies state they lack the leadership talent they need. 47%* predict a shortage of leadership skills in the near future!
“47%* predict a shortage of leadership skills in the near future!
Although this needs to be a concern for organizations and senior leaders, this is an excellent opportunity for new and upcoming leaders! Although we don't need another crisis, we are facing a leadership development crisis, nonetheless.
How We Got Here
The result of slowed population growth in the decades following the "baby boomers" is that there is a smaller leadership pool to draw upon for these needed leaders. It also means that leaders are being promoted at a younger age and advancing through the leadership ranks faster and sooner than their predecessors. This in itself is not necessarily a concern or a bad thing. However, these developing leaders must have the skillsets and knowledge to be effective leaders, gain influence, and drive positive impact across their organizations. Unlike their predecessors, many of these leaders typically desire and need more mentoring and coaching than they currently receive to gain experience and increase their confidence.
There is a path forward by having an integrated and intentional approach to leadership development.
4 Leadership Development Components
4 critical components must be integrated and intentional to result in effective leadership development. Those 4 components are cultural alignment, applicable skills & tools, internal mentorship, and external coaching. Let’s take a closer look at each component.
1 Cultural Alignment
Any leadership development program must be aligned with the organization's culture, meaning that the program reinforces the company’s values, methodology and approach to leadership, as opposed to being abstract to or does not emphasize these attributes in the leadership development program. For example, if the organization’s culture is one of continuous improvement through team member engagement, aligning to a leadership development program that applies this thinking and provides concepts and practical skills that can be directly used in this culture is critical.
Unlike specific skills training such as accounting or excel macro coding, for example, leadership development programs need to be aligned to the culture because the demonstrated leadership either positively or negatively impacts the realization of the organization’s vision, mission, and values through the engagement of their team members.
In addition, leadership development programs should have progressive and aligned development for leaders at all levels of the organization. Progressive in the sense of continued development building on previously developed skills to prepare them for advancing their career and being capable and confident to take on a larger scope of responsibilities. In doing so, a common leadership language and approach is created throughout the organization providing stability and consistent leadership. This intentionality then provides a known and defined career development path for leaders throughout all levels of the organization. As a result, defined leadership development can be easily integrated with organizational performance reviews or talent development programs that provide clear leadership development paths and a structured approach versus haphazard or random.
2 Applicable Skills & Tools
Leadership development programs no doubt provide great insights into proven management theory; however, organizations and leaders need and want practical concepts that they can apply to improve leadership and have a positive impact immediately. A failure of many leadership development programs is that there is too much focus on interesting management theories but often lack how to execute or apply these theories in the workplace. This is a significant cause of leaders returning from great-sounding leadership development programs, but little impact is observed or sustained long term.
Scrutiny of the leadership development program curriculum is an essential first step. Ensuring that the topics covered are very closely aligned with the practical skills necessary for the intended leaders to be successful and have an impact is essential. The upskills learned must be immediately applied within their current responsibilities or in the near term. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. In this case, it’s more about creating the desired leadership approach and habits.
“Practice makes perfect!”
As important as the curriculum is, it is equally essential that the leadership development program is designed to provide the leader with immersive learning opportunities. In other words, real examples, case studies, practical exercises, and immediate application through work-related assignments and projects. This approach again helps the leaders apply what they have learned and realize immediate benefits, which provides a reward and pull to continue to use them. It then causes a shift from learning to doing. Most people learn more effectively by doing.
3 Internal Mentorship
Another common failure mode in leadership development is that it should be discussed again after the leader obtains approval to attend or is asked to attend. Often this is not the case. Leaders are left with a feeling of “so what” and wonder if they wasted their time. The organization risks a poor return on investment as there is no check and balance to ensure a positive impact for the leader and the organization, let alone if the leader even attended!
Leadership development programs that include an internal mentor develop relationships, improve the alignment of cultural values throughout the leadership levels, sustain a common leadership language and approach, and improve impact and sustained results.
Mentorships accelerate the leader’s application and use of the skills and tools through encouragement and reinforcement of use within the organization. The mentor’s experience can assist the leader in overcoming barriers and challenges they face with a mutual understanding of the circumstances and environment.
An added benefit of an internal mentorship program is that the mentor also learns significantly from the experience. Discussing the skills and tools with the leader refreshes and reinforces the approaches with the mentor and deepens their understanding simultaneously. Mentoring is also an enriching experience for the mentor, driving higher engagement and satisfaction levels.
4 External Coaching
Additional coaching from an experienced leadership coach increases the leader’s self-awareness and builds confidence.
Today’s upcoming leaders need and desire more coaching than they currently receive. Many leaders state they are not getting enough coaching from within their organizations. There are several benefits of an external coach.
In our coaching, we are experiencing that leaders need to bounce ideas and thoughts off of someone, require some assurance that their approach is on the right path, and seek a safe environment to do so.
Leaders are running at an incredible pace these days. Many are not giving themselves the time to adequately think through their challenges and develop an intentional approach to moving forward. The feedback we consistently hear is that coaching provides the leader with a structure that almost forces them to stop and think at a deeper level before acting. Without structured coaching, they tend to fire-ready-aim more often than not. In other words, their leadership or decision-making is not very intentional.
“Fire --> Ready --> Aim
Many leaders lack self-confidence in themselves and are concerned about making a mistake. We find that the leaders are on the right track but need some assurance. External coaching can accelerate the leader’s confidence building by helping the leader think through what options they have and which are better than others. Confidence is built because the leaders develop the options and make the decisions on their own. The coach challenges them with questioning to help along the process.
External coaching provides the leader with a safe environment that is confidential and disconnected from the organization. Coaching conversations with an external coach are confidential and not shared with anyone. This allows the leader to be vulnerable and self-critical without fear of repercussions. Being able and comfortable with being vulnerable, leaders can more readily identify their concerns and barriers and develop approaches that work for them to face and overcome them quickly.
There is a massive void in leadership right in front of us. It’s already here!
Individual leaders must invest more time and effort in their development. Take the lead, don’t wait for someone else or their organization to do so. “I’m too busy right now” is a common excuse. Guess what? You will always be too busy. No one should care more about your leadership development than you! No one! If you do not invest in your development, you will not advance or achieve your full capability. Others will find time, and you will be left behind. Achieve your career aspirations and grow to your full potential. Take action today to intentionally determine your leadership development next steps!
Organizations are facing a significant challenge. Leaders don’t just appear, and you can’t just hire them. Not anymore. You must be growing and developing them. Leadership development is a significant investment in all forms of resources. Take action today by creating a leadership development program approach that includes the 4 critical components discussed!
* 25 Surprising Leadership Statistics (2022)
An essential skill for leaders is to learn to "see." Seeing beyond what most people see or at least seeing a different perspective of the same image. Teaching your eyes to see is a learned skill that, once mastered, opens your eyes to many new things.
Teaching your eyes to see - Learning to see
An example of teaching your eyes to see that I experienced while on an in-depth TPS training program in Japan several years ago involved learning to see 1/10th of a second kaizens. 1/10th of a second is very difficult to see and equates to the slightest of hand motions, movements, or on equipment, tiny adjustments. We had the task of reducing the cycle time within a production line by 30 seconds but doing so through 1/10th of a second kaizens. Being experienced operations guys and after observing the line for several cycles, it was apparent to us what was needed. With some changes to the layout, moving equipment closer together, adjusting the material flow, and other equipment modifications, the 30 seconds was a done deal. As part of the training, we had to prepare a scaled drawing detailing our kaizen ideas. Our Sensei would review the drawings, and if approved, the improvements would get implemented. We spent several hours drafting our kaizen ideas on day one and provided the completed drawings for review and approval. The Sensei looked at the proposals and very clearly expressed his disapproval! We received a similar response several times over the following couple of days. We were ready to throw in the towel, but then suddenly, like a light switch, we could see these subtle movements of waste and 1/10th of a second kaizens.
Although I don't necessarily advocate this teaching method, it emphasizes that leadership development needs to include learning to see what is or what is not happening. It is important to see those subtle forms of waste, abnormalities, opportunities, and, I suggest, clues that then beg questions. Good questions!
For example, one time, while on a Gemba, we came across a box of rubber gloves attached to a column of the building. Above the box was a handwritten sign that said
"Gloves are for hazardous material spills only."
This situation was crazy on so many levels! We didn't just see a poorly made sign and a duct-taped glove box. We 'saw' many questions and concerns, such as:
STOP!!! TIME OUT!
This example is pretty astounding and scary and may seem hard to believe, but yet it is true. It is even more disturbing that many leaders walked right past this sign during the Gemba and didn't even notice it. Even more frightful, the building leadership had walked past it many times and didn't really "see" it!
So how do you learn to see? Practice.
Go to the floor with a specific purpose to learn to see. For example, go with a focus on seeing one specific thing. Such as arm overreaching, bending, twisting, outdated signs or posters, trip hazards, pinch points, sign effectiveness and meaning, opportunities to cause product damage, unnecessary motion, a specific type of waste stream, sources of floor debris, etc., etc. The point is to dedicate an appropriate amount of time to see a particular focus. Look for that focus and only that focus. Ask yourself as many questions as possible on that specific item when you see it. See beyond the obvious. Look for deeper meaning, symptoms, evidence, and abnormalities. Repeat often with a new or different focus. With practice, you will soon see these things naturally and without effort. Once you learn to see, you won't be able to turn it off.
Nope, it's not rocket science. Seems too easy, right? Try it. You'll like it!
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