5 Ways to Elevate Your Leadership
As leaders, we all want to be known as the great leader who inspires our teams, deliver results, and keeps our cool under pressure. As I reflect back on my leadership journey, which is still in progress, I find these five techniques serve me best, and with a little practice may help you become an even better leader as well.
Always be Learning
Being a continuous learner is key to expanding our knowledge, adding value, and sharing new ideas with our teams and organizations. One way to do that is by reading (like I’ve been told “leaders are readers”). Knowledge is a superpower we all have access to and how we make it a priority in our development matters!
Knowing when to share, how much to share, and why the act of sharing empowers our teams, builds trust and collaboration. Reflect on a time when a leader shared the vision of a project, the why, and how it impacted those involved. It’s no wonder these initiatives/projects get done with passion and inner drive to see them through.
Give > Ask > Receive
Having a mindset to give first, giving at times to help and at other times to inspire and network, has always served me well. I’ve used the phrase, Give > Ask > Receive, in the spirit of me giving first. If you think of a savings account, we make deposits to have an account balance to draw from, so we must give (make a deposit) in order to ask (ask the teller or push the buttons on the ATM) and receive (take the money). This resonates for me when asking for help, I can ask for help when I have a positive balance to draw upon!
Listen to Hear
Most people think or believe they are good listeners, when in reality we may listen with the intent to respond, or listen while thinking about our next meeting, upcoming project or what’s for dinner later! Listening to hear, truly hear, means clearing our minds, completely, and hearing their words to understand what they need/want and only when they are done are we formulating our questions to ask. This is HARD to do and takes practice! One tip – shut your computer, turn your phone over and take three deep breaths to clear your mind before engaging in meetings/conversations to truly hear.
Communication is a very broad subject, however when I say communication, I mean how we communicate with our peers, teams and people! Communicating with clarity, being concise and knowing our audience can make all the difference in how our message is heard, received and perceived.
- Ask open-ended questions – this helps you understand their input/perspective
- Avoid asking “why” – it can put people on the defensive to explain their position
- WIIFT, what’s in it for them – are you speaking to how your subject matters to the folks you are talking with?
- Audience – with senior leaders you likely need less details or tactics and work towards sharing the big picture. With your team and peers, you are working together where the details and tactics are vital.
I challenge you to tackle one of these five techniques this week and see how it feels. Pay attention to how the team you’re working with responds. Once you master one technique, try another one. Tackling all five at once may be audacious, so go one at a time to allow yourself the time to practice, adjust and form into new habits for the long term.