I recently read an article on Entrepreneur discussing the topic of leadership practices and how best to empower your workforce. A particular quote at the beginning of the article really hooked me in and it was the following "Leadership is an active, continual process that is developed over time and needs thoughtful practice". The pandemic has certainly shown this quote to be very true. Leadership has undoubtedly changed in the past 12 months, with a strong emphasis on nurturing and developing teams through virtual means. The best leaders have adapted to the challenges the pandemic has thrown their way to change their style of leadership that best fits the virtual world many have become accustomed to.
Here's 3 leadership practices that you can use to empower your workforce during these challenging times:
1. Lead Yourself First
The first step to leadership is understanding who you are and how you naturally lead. It is important to understand whether you are an upbeat, outgoing leader who enjoys bringing their team with them or a stoic leader who commands quality and respect? What leadership style do you think would be best suited to bringing the best out of your team and how do you think each personality within your team will react to your leadership style? The goal is to understand who you are but also who your team are and how you lead them will ultimately impact the success you have as a team.
2. Be Curious About Your Team
The best leaders are those that have a natural curiosity about the people who grow their business. Taking a genuine interest in members of your team will not only help with understanding what makes them tick but it will allow you to develop empathy and relate to them on a personal level, not just professionally. Try to get to know them as much as they will open up to you about. Understanding your team and what motivates them will help with adapting your approach to how they work to give them a chance to really shine.
3. Create A High Performing Culture
Sustained organizational excellence is based on the habitual pattern of everyone embodying a shared and common goal. This should be what you refer back to at all times and ensure that your team are all in on striving for excellence together. Being the best leader and setting the right standards will filter through the team and create a culture of high performers, resulting in stronger results and higher productivity. Leading from the front really does influence the culture of your team, so set the standard and send the right messages.
Leadership is ever evolving and when the dust settles and the pandemic is a thing of the past, it will continue to demand changes that leaders must adapt to. Leadership in 2021 already looks very different than it did in 2020. It is important now that leaders focus on the mental and physical well-being of their team first and foremost, as strong business results will naturally follow if the right practices are applied from senior leaders.
Leadership is an active, continual process. While certain people may be innately better at empowering and motivating others, leadership is a skill that can be developed — and one that needs thoughtful practice.