Invest in Leadership Development Programs – for Yourself and Your Team
Whether you have had prior experience in a leadership role or you are a new manager or leader, there’s always room to learn more and to try new or different approaches to engaging with your team.
Especially in today's climate of uncertainty and change, leaders are hungry for development opportunities, to connect with others, and to receive feedback on their performance as a leader. Enrolling in a leadership development program like The Leadership Challenge® can introduce you (or your team) to innovative methods of engaging others and boosting team effectiveness.
Leaders who are adaptable to change, receptive to new ideas and feedback, and cognizant of what measures will make their employees feel supported and valued are more confident and successful over time. Developing your own leadership skills can also improve the capability of your employees and their ability to achieve their goals and contribute to the success of the company as a whole.
Try these Strategic Tools for Developing as a Leader
The most influential leaders are those who can motivate employees to execute the company’s vision with decisiveness, passion, and respect for their team. There are many ways to develop an effective leadership development strategy on your own; however, there are also a few different tools you can incorporate into your practices to increase your team’s efficiency and create a more positive dynamic between yourself and your employees.
Expand your communication methods
Leaders who achieve the best results are actively engaged with their teams and provide assistance to employees as needed. There’s certainly a balance to be struck between being an engaging leader and being overbearing or micromanaging. It’s important to allow your direct reports to feel comfortable coming to you with their questions while also maintaining their ability to be independently productive. Ask your team how they would like to be communicated with and what technologies they think would make you more productive as a team.
Don’t be surprised if your team’s preference is not to use email. With remote teams now more common than ever, consider implementing a digital chat tool like Slack, Google Hangouts Chat, or Microsoft Teams (if you have not already) to help be more available to answer questions from employees. Using communication technology to aid your ability to provide support to your team can reduce the turnaround time it might otherwise take for employees to overcome obstacles, thereby improving their efficiency and maximizing productivity. Talk about the best way to use these just-in-time communications — what your expectations as a team are for response time and how to clearly indicate when you are away, on a break, or in an important meeting. (Many have built-in features for communicating when you/your team is busy, but be sure you discuss how flexible you are or your team's preferences for how you will respond to messages.)
If you do not implement a new communication tool, continue to have regular one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss growth, current challenges, and ideas as a way to maintain regular communication in addition to answering questions.
Embrace new tools to help with engagement and workforce management
Leading your team can be a more productive process when employees and the data surrounding them are effectively managed. For example, what used to be a yearly performance review is now often broken out into monthly, even weekly ‘pulse’ surveys. Does your organization use modern HR software to simplify and automate tasks like employee time capture and expense management? If you do have access to them, make sure you are using these tools effectively, which can free up time and resources for higher-level and more strategic work.
Aggregating employee data in an efficient manner can also make it easier to keep your team organized and to track employee behavior. If any issues arise within your team that need addressing, effectively managing your staff’s information can equip you with a stronger awareness of the problems at hand and can help you to make better-informed decisions on how to proceed with resolving those problems.
Not sure where to Start? Begin with the Basics
Some organizations may not be in the position to implement new technologies or workforce management solutions, so it doesn’t hurt to explore other ways to improve or become more effective as a leader or team member. Here are a few resources to help increase leadership capacity or improve teams across the board: