When you hear the word “leadership” what comes to mind? There are numerous definitions of leadership. For me leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen. Effective leadership comes down to people. It is about the ability to successfully engage and maximize all human resources for the attainment that vision.
In my mind there are 5 elements of leadership that are necessary to make the extraordinary happen.
Engage – Communication at all levels and through all available channels is key to success in connecting the “isolated” team members and bringing them together as a team. This is not about the technology and tools (of which a myriad variety is available today) but about the basic steps to create an emotional connection. Listen, converse, and reach out often to build a rapport with your team members and a shared environment of trust. Create frameworks and processes for communication, decision-making and problem solving for your team with guidelines on how, when and where people can interact with each other to set the expectations and the pattern.
Empower – Micromanagement of tasks is ineffective. So let go the old style of leadership and move to outcome based leadership. It’s all about trust. Give autonomy (with accountability) to your teams. Set goals with deadlines – make sure that your teams fully understand the goals and have the support that they need to achieve them – and track them on outcomes instead of tasks. Address problems early and be available to your teams.
Enable – This one is about technology and tools. Enable people to move forward in their work by committing appropriate resources, removing obstacles, helping them work across boundaries, and aligning processes, structure, and systems. Evaluate the options that best fit the team and the business needs and provide the facilities to your team to enable productive working across environments.
Energize – Enthuse your teams by providing a shared vision and purpose. Make it clear about how their work contributes to the success of the organization. Make your teams successes and contributions visible throughout the organization. Encourage the team to mentor each other and make wins and losses a joint responsibility by celebrating wins and learning from mistakes together.
Exemplify – It all begins with you – walk the talk and set the right example through your own actions. Be proactive, alert, transparent and always available for your teams. Put in more effort to stay connected with your teams, appreciate often and be sensitive to the work-life balance of your team members. Leadership needs a lot of integrity and honesty and not everything can be laid out in black and white in policies and processes. Influence your teams through your own example and by being a role model so that there is no confusion within the teams on the “right” way to do things.
Your employees expect you to lead without excuses. The leadership you display and the decisions that you make contribute more to the success of your employees than all other factors combined. Everything you do counts. Make it count.