The year 2020 has created a disruptive series of changes in people’s social interactions, professions, and lives at large. One of the places that people look for support is their peers from work.
Amid all this chaos, strong leadership is an essential element in restoring any semblance of normalcy and boosting the confidence and wellbeing of people.
Strong leaders lay the groundwork for success by setting the direction and improving communication in a company, department, or even in the government. Their purpose is to provide clarity to each unit of a group, so they can conceptualise their own strategy, figure out the steps to take, and appreciate the structure of an organisation.
Leadership development does not only help those who seek managerial positions but also those who are starting as entry-level employees. Through developing your leadership skills, you learn more than just strictly delegating tasks to your people.
You also hone your capability to delve deep into the dynamics of your team and identify key advantages, leverage on them, and compensate on the weak points of your team members.
Here are a few ways you can develop positive leadership skills, especially in these trying times:
There are different leadership styles but perhaps the most effective in times of crises is one that’s decisive. Positive leadership is always leading by example, however, that may not always be enough.
Sometimes, great leaders must take matters into their own hands and make rational decisions when faced with a challenge or a crisis situation. The more that you show that you’re ready and willing to take the tough decisions, the more your people become confident in placing their trust in you.
Understandably, decisions should not be rushed; however, in the face of a pandemic, you, as a leader, should be able to decide and act with urgency as each delay bears an equivalent risk that can massively make an impact on your business and in the lives of your employees.
Develop a leadership communication strategy
Emulating positive leadership includes finding out the best communication style for each individual and making sure that every voice matters. This would not only build the foundation of an organisation but would also help each person anticipate the challenges that may come their way.
Now, part of developing an efficient communication strategy is being transparent with your team especially during tough situations. An effective leader should be able to communicate more openly and honestly about the current situation of the business, particularly during a pandemic.
It is crucial to get everyone on the same page because for one, they might have ideas or even sales strategies that they can contribute that might actually keep the business afloat. Consequently, not only the future of the business is at stake, but as well as their lives; thus, letting them know about important matters such as this gives them a fair chance to find a job elsewhere or help save the business.
Be open to learning new things
As this year has probably already taught you, the world is constantly evolving. This is why you must never stop learning, as tedious as it may sound. Keep in mind that you can only be better than yourself. Leadership development programs and leadership coaching sessions such as the ones from Deploy Yourself are key to effective leadership.
Renowned leaders are ever curious because a growth mindset maintains your and your organisation’s competitive edge over the other players in your particular industry. Curiosity allows you to explore things without going off-tangent. It drives you to innovate and be a force of change for the organisation.
But one must always note that very few people succeed at one-off attempts and learning is a process; that includes failed experiments that may feel uncomfortable to accept.
Learning and up-skilling yourself will also keep you on your toes. It will expose you to different views and put everything into perspective. Keep yourself abreast on industry news, current events in your country, and any white paper that might come your way. Keep your eyes and ears open to the world around you and you will open doors of opportunity without falling into a tunnel vision.
Invest in people
Among the things to also consider in people management is to hire the right people according to not just their skills, but also the values they hold. Investing in your team’s values and purpose beats any key performance indicators anytime.
One of the things you should know is that KPIs are your goals only on paper, but it is the values of your organisation that determines if your team is capable of reaching and going beyond them.
A team that embodies your company’s values will not only help you expand your organisation but will also serve as the gatekeeper of your company as it evolves into a global brand.
Furthermore, keep in mind that you’re not only hiring people who are already good at what they do. You, as a leader, also carry the task of honing their skills and developing their personalities so that they can reach their maximum potential and perform at their best.
Undoubtedly, leadership seems glossy as a word, but it bears a weighty responsibility. The disruptions in different industries recently have had a harrowing effect on people who have to constantly upgrade their skills. People who haven’t been able to do so have found themselves out of a job.
To those who have had to let go of people this year, keep in mind that showing empathy will not only affect those who left but those who remain as well. This also has an impact on the culture and might lead employees into being tense and insecure. This is why empathy is a value that should remain deep-seated in the heart of every leader, now more than ever.
Take advantage of the digital era
The physical disconnection that has been felt worldwide, is now being addressed through the emergence of digital innovations. Take advantage of that by using new-age tools like video conferencing to cultivate openness, consideration, respect, and appreciation among team members.
It is even important to practice empathy when we are not meeting each other physically. On digital mediums like video conferencing, it is very important to show empathy in every communication you have. It would be a huge mistake to focus only on the work and ignore the personal/human side as we interact only via our screens.
Hence, while it is indeed a challenge nowadays to connect to people on a deeper level without in-person communication, this does not mean that you should stop making an effort to build stronger relationships with your team members.
Get creative, find tools and resources that will help you to get to know them on a more personal level. During your next Zoom meeting, start with an icebreaker, a mini activity or a short sharing session.
In fact, why not try to play a few online multiplayer games that will help to bring you all closer together? Maybe a few rounds of playing “Among Us” could do the trick? You’ll be surprised at how these little things can actually improve your relationship with your team.
Strengthen the camaraderie among your people
Two of the sought-after characteristics by newly onboarded people are warmth and belongingness. People want to feel that they can grow in a supportive environment. Thus, providing them with immersive experiences that are grounded on your organisation’s core values can help them feel integrated into the company.
Being conscientious about the talent that you acquire, and how you nurture that talent will bring in people who will enable and empower them to do their jobs well. It is important to find innovative ways to celebrate occasions like birthdays, festivals, and other events together as a team even if people can’t meet physically.
When people work as comrades and friends rather than just strangers and colleagues, it has a positive impact on everyone’s productivity as well as their well-being.
Lead with a clear vision and communicate it tirelessly until it comes to life, surround yourself with people who will give you a leg up but will maintain a critical eye when you need feedback. Allow your people to express themselves about what is happening in their surroundings and be proactive in listening.
The quality of leadership that you provide during a challenge—such as the current situation in most organisations—will have a massive impact on the future of your company.