Great Leadership Relies on a Great Team


great leadershipGreat leadership requires more than just a strong leader; it requires a strong team of people motivated to achieving the company’s success. How does a leader inspire and motivate their team to greatness?

Marcus Nicolls, senior partner for Partners In Leadership explores this idea in his article Your Leadership Only Drives Success, Not Powers It.

When your people are engaged, the very best flows from them and the company’s work will be done more effectively, efficiently, and with more success.

For those old-school managers who require hard numbers to see the value in a more collaborative approach to business, check out this fact from a Gallup poll:

Gallup reported that actively disengaged employees costs the U.S. between $450 – $550 billion per year.

That is billion with a “B.” So what should we do differently to foster great leadership?

Marcus offers three suggestions that will build a team of inspired, motivated, productive team members and ultimately will be viewed as great leadership:

1. Model the Right Culture

Start by asking yourself: “What type of team and company culture engages me?” “What type of leader do I want to follow?” and “What is it about that leader’s style that draws me in?” Write down your thoughts and determine how and where you’ll demonstrate those same traits.

2. Clarify Purpose at All Levels

Help your people understand the purpose of the organization, the team, and their own connection to the business results of the company by using tools such as storytelling and recognition to reinforce how the right actions impact company performance.

3. Make Feedback Real

Create a feedback-rich culture by inviting feedback that flows both up and down. Ask for feedback every day; even from people you normally wouldn’t ask. Demonstrate that you want honesty through your own example of open and candid feedback exchanges.

Each of these three tactics will help build a stronger team; one that is inclusive and will attract a diverse team of professionals that bring their own strengths and experiences.

Companies that desire a reputation for being a great place to work will want to foster more great leadership up and down the chain of command. Brent Gleeson is a former Navy Seal- talk about great leadership experience – and he’s written an article offering 7 Simple Ways to Lead by Example.  Each of the seven ideas feed into the above three tactics. If your management team were to adopt these leadership strategies it will most certainly help lead to an overall company that is designed to attract and retain other great leaders.

Three of the ways Brent approaches leadership by example can be used at any level of the company. So if you are a women in business managing from the middle – consider fostering these strategies into your daily management process:

Get your hands dirty. Do the work and know your trade. You don’t have to be the most advanced technician on the team, but you must have an in-depth understanding of your industry and your business. Leaders have many responsibilities, but it is important to work alongside your team. 

Listen to the team. As leaders, sometimes we are so consumed with providing directive, giving orders, and, well, talking that we forget to stop and listen. If the recruitment and training engine is functioning well, you should have a whole team of experts to turn to for advice. One sign of good leadership is knowing that you don’t know everything. 

Let the team do their thing. Stop micromanaging. Communicate the mission, vision, values, and goals. Then step back and let the team innovate. Setting this example for the team will encourage your other managers to do the same.

This last suggestion – letting the team do their own thing – may be the most challenging of all. The team may not approach a project or a problem in the same way that you would. Accepting that fact and allowing them to achieve success on their own will go a long way toward building up team morale, confidence and buy-in for future projects. Resist the urge to step in and offer advice.

Start by explaining the project and required goal. Provide the tools and training necessary. Define the parameters of what they can and can’t do without further approval. And then let them go. Be open and available should they need further assistance or a sounding board.  Great leadership requires having a level of trust in your team.

When you think back over the bosses you have had in the past; concentrate on those that were the best. What made them the best in your eyes? Did they listen and value your opinions? Did they allow you to work without hovering over your shoulder at every step? Keep those great traits in mind when leading your own team.

By the way – as a little bit of levity – check out this article for the opposing point of view. Amy Osmond Cook, Ph.D. and Entrepreneur contributor wrote this information article: Are You a Jerk – 10 Questions to Ask Yourself.

IMG_5268cJJ DiGeronimo, keynote speaker for women, based in Cleveland, presents keynote addresses on women in leadership, diversity in business and advancement for women.

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JJ DiGeronimo

JJ DiGeronimo

Speaker, Author & Thought Leader for Women in Tech & Girls in STEM.

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