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30th April 2019

25 Tips for 25 Years: Leadership

In celebration of Impact’s 25th Anniversary, we would like to share with you our 25 top tips on how to be an effective leader and motivate your team to reach success:

TIP 1: Be a leader who can admit mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes so admitting when you’re wrong shows you’re ‘human’! It helps create trust and credibility with your colleagues, fostering greater engagement! “Making mistake isn’t enough to become great. You must also admit the mistake, and the learn how to turn that mistake into and advantage.” – Robert Kiyosaki

TIP 2: Practice active listening. Put your agenda aside and listen with the intention of seeing the world through other’s eyes. “If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear!” – Mark Twain

Active listening techniques include:

  • Pay attention e.g. look at who is talking, avoid being distracted, visualise what is being said
  • Show that you’re listening e.g. nod occasionally, use facial expressions, open posture
  • Provide feedback e.g. paraphrase, ask questions, summarise comments
  • Defer Judgement e.g. do not talk until the speaker has finished their point
  • Respond appropriately e.g. be open, honest and respectful, follow directions

TIP 3: Appreciate other’s strengths. Recognise, praise, and acknowledge your colleagues to help them realise their own strengths, and boost engagement as a result! “A leader, a good one, inspires others to recognise their strengths.” – Stacie Walker

TIP 4: Communicate effectively. The 7 C’s of communication is a useful checklist for ensuring your emails, meetings, calls, reports, presentations or any other method are powerful and effective. Effective communication is Clear, Concise, Concreate, Correct, Coherent, Complete and Courteous. Read more about the 7 C’s of communication here.

TIP 5: Lead by example and ‘practice what you preach!’. To build trust and inspire your team, you must show them the way by doing it yourself. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way” – John Maxwell

TIP 6: Identify your leadership style, it’s strengths and weaknesses. Different leadership styles can be appropriate and effective in different situations. Read about different leadership styles here and complete this survey to find out your preferred style.

TIP 7: Be aware of bias. Consider all relevant information objectively and explore the views of others before making a decision, even if the information challenges your own beliefs. “Without data you’re just another person with an opinion” – W. Edwards Deming

TIP 8: Manage performance effectively. Set and agree clear performance expectations and provide regular feedback so your team knows what is expected of them and what results need to be achieved. This will enhance teamwork, motivation and performance.

TIP 9: Be trusting and trustworthy. Show your true self to others, share your thoughts and beliefs with your team and be genuine, open and honest. This transparency promotes trust, which is crucial for communication, information sharing and cooperation. “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” – Mother Teresa

TIP 10: Understand yourself. Self-awareness is important as understanding your own patterns of thinking and behaving helps you to understand the impact you have on others. “Self-knowledge is the beginning of self-improvement.” – Baltasar Gracian

TIP 11: Ensure meetings are efficient and productive. Ensure they are small (five to seven people), start on time and are short and engaging. Summarise decisions and next steps as a team. Efficiency is crucial when “Time is money” – Benjamin Franklin.

TIP 12: Find a mentor. Even the best leaders need advice and support sometimes and they know when they need to seek it. There is always room for development, so try and find someone you respect and are inspired by to provide you with support.

TIP 13: Know and understand your colleagues. In order to influence and motivate your colleagues, learn what makes them tick. Spend time with colleagues outside of the office to get to know them as people. This allows you to gain insight into their individual personalities and behaviours, helping you to communicate and work better together.

TIP 14: Have difficult conversations. Approach these by thinking about what you want the outcome to be and how it will start and end. Use facts rather than opinions and learn from past conversations, why was it challenging and what worked well? “The way you communicate in challenging times dictates whether your organisation thrives or barely survives.” – Michelle Mazur

TIP 15: Don’t micromanage. Allow your colleagues to approach you if they need help. Standing over them can lead to frustration and demotivation. Communicate your goals and priorities, then allow your team to do their job.

TIP 16: Use Situational Leadership. Effective leaders need to be flexible and adapt the amount of direction and support they give to their colleagues according to the situation and their commitment and development levels.

There are four situational leadership styles:

  • Directing (High directive – low supportive)
  • Coaching (High directive – high supportive)
  • Supporting (Low directive – high supportive)
  • Delegating (Low directive – low supportive)

Learn more about Situational Leadership Theory here.

TIP 17: Be an ethical leader. Stick to your morals and do what is right instead of simply following tradition. “Ethics must begin at the top of an organisation. It is a leadership issue and the chief executive must set the example.” – Edward Hennessy

TIP 18: Be a change leader. Change is crucial for organisations to grow and leadership is the driving force behind successful change. To prepare your team for change, say why change is necessary, include them in the process & show personal commitment. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

TIP 19: Take a relationship-based approach. Build high quality relationships with your team to foster a positive work environment. Talk regularly with them, offer support and advice, and create the best opportunities to test their skills and develop.

TIP 20: Enable others to work at their best through empowerment, participation and encouragement. You can do this by giving colleagues the right amount of autonomy to do their work, remaining open to others’ input and by providing support when needed. “Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.” – Mary D.Poole

TIP 21: Prioritise your health. Leaders often put others first and sacrifice their own wellbeing in the process, but self-care is an essential part of the job! To effectively lead others, you must take care of yourself first! “Taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally will be crucial to your success. You can achieve none of your leadership aims if you sacrifice yourself to the cause.” – Heifetz, Grashow and Linsky

TIP 22: Identify & change your action logic. Researchers Rooke & Torbert argue that what differentiates leaders is not management style but ‘action logic ‘ – how they react when their power is challenged. The seven developmental action logics are:

  • Opportunist – Manipulative
  • Diplomat – Overly Polite
  • Expert – Perfectionist
  • Achiever – Out of the ordinary#
  • Individualist – Odd one out
  • Strategist – team player
  • Alchemist – Multi-tasking

Learn more about the different types of action logic and Rooke and Torbert’s research here .

TIP 23: Lead and manage innovation. Add innovation to the formal agenda at team meetings, define the kind of innovation that helps meet strategic objectives, and set performance targets for innovation. Thinking innovatively ensures continued success! “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

TIP 24: Be transparent. Behave in a way that is open, reliable and predictable so your team can clearly see what actions need to be performed. This will build trust and authentic relationships, resulting in better teamwork and higher performance.

TIP 25: Reflection is key to self-development. Take time to reflect daily on your experiences – “What went well?” and “What could have gone better?”. Also think about the behaviour of effective leaders around you – “What makes them a good leader?”

Over the last 25 years, Impact has been creating bespoke solutions to help organisations maximise their resources and develop the skills of their leaders. If you would like to know more about how we can help you to develop leadership in your organisation please get in touch with us at hello@workwithimpact.co.uk

Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up to date with our #25tipsfor25years social media campaign. The next ‘25 tips’ in our series will be on Performance – @workwithimpact