As leaders, we rely on obtaining frequent and transparent feedback from our team members both for personal and organizational growth.
Constructive feedback not only helps us make better-informed strategic and operational decisions, but it also helps foster a culture of open communication.
And as most leaders know, it’s a lot easier said than done.
So what are a few things leaders should consider when working at drawing out more quality feedback from your team?
Trust is the foundation of any successful feedback exchange, and team members must feel secure and confident in sharing their thoughts and concerns with you.
If team members are worried about your reaction or if they're worried about what's going to happen to them after they share what they have to share with you, then they're just not going to do it. Or they might do it a couple of times and then be like, “What's the point?” So you really want to make sure that you are not contributing...
Finally, you found someone to replace you and perform a specific task. Maybe it’s even a task that you never liked doing and you cannot wait to get this off your plate.
You set up a meeting, start training the person, and then… you find yourself wanting to nudge them aside and take over.
You feel they’re not doing it right. You try to explain. You demonstrate. But nothing seems to be working. You’re tempted to just forget the whole thing and take the delegated task back.
Will that really serve you?
So what can you do when struggling to train someone on a delegated task?
The first thing to look at is ask yourself was the task the right one to delegate? Sometimes there's this desire to get rid of tasks because we don't like them. It's something that we can't stand doing. It's something that drains us. It's something that we drag our feet on because it's just miserable. And we try every trick in the book,...
As a leader, no matter at what level, you will likely at some point find yourself wondering whether you’re making the right decision.
The degree of self-questioning will likely vary depending on your knowledge, skills, experience as well as how you feel about your role as a leader.
For most, the doubts will pass quickly-ish and you’ll move on with your day.
But for some, making decisions with high-levels of impact creates constant anxiety. To the point of it being incapable of actually making a decision. In extreme cases, it can devolve into an actual case of imposter syndrome.
So what can leaders do should they find themselves potentially dealing with imposter syndrome?
The very, very first thing is, let's understand what it is that you are dealing with. The Oxford Languages defines imposter syndrome as: “The persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved...
Story is a powerful business tool.
As a writer/screenwriter, I formally studied the art of writing and storytelling. From Stephen King’s On Writing, to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, to Aristotle’s Poetics. Which, by the way, is so tiny when you pick it up, it’s tempting to think it’ll be an easy read… It is not. It’s super packed with insight and requires a lot of reflection as you’re reading if you really want to really understand the material.
Maybe you’re thinking: “You just need that for fiction. That’s not for business.” Not so fast! Storytelling is what will captivate an audience, will attract your clients and will inspire your team.
So what basic structure could leaders use to help carve a more powerful business story?
Before we just jump into that, let's start with the potential uses for these stories.
I know that it gets tossed around a lot....
It’s quite typical for organizations to promote from within. You may have identified an extraordinary team member that has demonstrated leadership qualities in a variety of situations.
And that is certainly a great start.
But it is a start.
Although they may possess deep expertise executing tasks and collaborating with colleagues, obtaining positional power changes the dynamics.
So what can leaders do to help ensure that newly appointed managers have been provided with the basic essentials to also be effective?
The very first thing is choosing the role model mindset.
Yes, I know. We hear it all the time. The leader as a role model. Although not exactly new, it is essential. And, it's one thing to know about it. It’s another to actually be doing it.
Leading by example is absolutely one of the fundamental pillars of effective leadership. It’s the infamous “You need to walk the talk.” You can't just say one thing, then...
Let's face it, being a new leader can be scary. Even though people don't talk about it a lot, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and anxious about how to handle situations and their outcome. The thing is, though, worrying can be destructive when left uncontrolled. And as entrepreneurs and leaders, I can guarantee you, you will be placed in high-stress, high-impact situations and even have to make decisions caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
So what can new leaders do to help manage harmful worrying?
The first thing is to actually recognize that it is harmful. Yes, I know. You're probably like: “I know that worrying is harmful.” Okay. But are you fully acknowledging it? Are you fully acknowledging just how harmful it is?
Have you truly considered how it is harming you as a person? It can take a toll on your mental and physical health. You will start feeling physical side effects, symptoms of that constant worry. Your...
Like many leadership skills, having the ability to build trust begins with recognizing the importance of this activity and understanding the necessity to behave in a manner that will contribute to the development of that much desired trust and credibility.
Yes, some believe that having positional power automatically entitles them to this precious attitude, but I feel that this is actually compliance and not really trust. And to have a truly highly-functioning team, it's essential to build trust, not just have compliance.
So what are some strategies that can help us build trust?
It all starts with open communication. Share information about the decisions and the associated actions. Be clear about your intentions, about the goals.
That doesn't mean being careless and justifying everything by saying it’s “speaking the truth”. We can't just come in and say whatever and start blaming and finger-pointing and throwing people under the bus because...
Recently, I was chatting with a fellow business owner about training their new leaders. As part of that conversation, we talked about the importance of new leaders finding ways to build their leadership confidence.
There are some very real consequences to both having leaders who are recklessly confident and those who are unjustifiably insecure.
So how do we create conditions that will encourage new leaders to find that middle ground where they are both confident yet still able to lead with humility?
Ideally, it starts before you promote them. If you have a tendency of promoting internally, then you've probably already identified individuals that you feel would make great formal leaders.
And before you just assume that they want that responsibility, check with them because they may not be interested. Not everyone wants to lead a team. It doesn't make them bad people or bad employees! It's just a choice.
Some people love what they do right now and they want to do it for...
As leaders who are actively seeking to have a positive impact, leaders who genuinely want to understand and support their team members as unique individuals, we must expand our universe. We must engage with the world in ways that will help us view it through different lenses.
What can we do to help us gain more of that perspective?
Think about it. When was the last time you did that? When was the last time that you exchanged ideas with someone outside of your field of expertise?
It doesn't happen that often.
Reality is, individuals in the same field tend to read the same books, speak to the same people, attend the same conferences. And so, we find ourselves living in this microcosm. Which means we need to step out of that to gain more perspective.
To keep growing as leaders, it's important to also engage in business conversations with those outside our field of expertise, to learn more about how they operate their...
Running a business, being a leader, requires a lot of energy.
And sometimes, the demands of the day pull us in the direction that it dictates.
Next thing you know, you find yourself with an ever-expanding task list, constantly short on time, forever exhausted, and the busyness of running a business has caught you in its web.
I'm not saying that you're not working hard. You're working very, very hard.
But you're working hard on the wrong things and you're headed in the wrong direction.
And, in a few months, maybe a year or two even, you'll realize that you keep getting farther and farther away from your goals.
So what can you do to get out of this busyness web?
The first thing you can do is to stop for a moment. Hit that virtual pause button. Stop and reevaluate your priorities.
When doing so, ask yourself:
That's going to change. It's going to be fluid. For sure, we don't want...