Whether you are launching into your first leadership role or enjoying a well-deserved promotion, as a woman (especially a woman of color), it often feels like you need to prove yourself and your capabilities to your team. To boost your confidence and remind you that “You’ve got this,” we offer five success factors with tips for how to make them key elements of your leadership style.
- Encourage (& Act On) Feedback
In comparison to being an individual contributor, leadership positions often lack an easy and straightforward way to gather feedback. Direct reports may be reluctant to offer unsolicited feedback to their managers. Build trust with your team by regularly requesting specific feedback and listening to understand. Then, most importantly, ACT on that feedback (or authentically explain why you can’t). This shows your team that you understood and that their feedback is appreciated and taken seriously.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to not only receive feedback but to give it. Create an environment where regular feedback is a natural part of everyday work life. Include specific, constructive, developmental feedback as well as positive feedback. Your goal is to make each individual aware of opportunities to improve, without experiencing this feedback as something negative. Additionally, vocalizing your appreciation for what individual team members do well elevates overall morale and encourages more of that desired behavior.
- Talk Less & Listen More
As a leader, you may feel the need to take the reins and drive your team. Doing so, however, can create a one-way avenue of communication that propagates a “Do as I say” environment. In the long run, this hinders your team’s critical thinking and strategic decision-making skills, ultimately eroding trust in your ability to delegate important tasks.
Instead, build your team’s confidence and capabilities by actively listening to their ideas and concerns. Get to know individual team members’ strengths so you can leverage their talents and elevate overall team performance. Take a step back and position yourself as a resource for your team, rather than the authority. This will encourage an environment where your areas of expertise complement and support the expertise of your team.
- Share the Success
We all enjoy praise and recognition for a job well done. Often, this praise comes directly from senior leadership and unfortunately is not shared with the rest of the team. As a result, your team only hears about how great a job they are doing if YOU tell them. Otherwise, it may feel like you’re taking all the credit and getting rewarded for others’ work.
To avoid this trap, intentionally share success and always give credit where credit is due. By doing so, you show senior leadership that you respect and value your team. Your public recognition is also likely to enhance the overall performance and cohesiveness of your team. Employees work harder and provide better results when they feel their contributions make a difference and are appreciated.
- Stay Up-To-Date
Staying current on what’s happening across your industry and organization is crucial to being an effective leader. You need to have your finger on the pulse. Read key press releases, newsletters, and internal communications. Create and nurture direct lines of communication with other departments. By staying in-the-know, you will be better equipped to make strategic decisions to further the organization’s goals.
In addition to staying current on the news impacting your organization and industry, it’s important for you as a leader to stay up-to-date on people. Cultivating a personal connection with your team and developing an ongoing, genuine interest in their lives builds camaraderie and morale that can be measured in employee satisfaction and retention.
- Join a Professional Organization
Senior leaders often find themselves in positions with fewer internal peers (or none at all). Joining a high-quality professional organization can provide exposure to peer-level insights and career coaching that will help you continue to grow and develop. There are many professional women’s groups that offer support and resources through every stage of leadership development. These groups can help sharpen critical thinking and strategic decision-making skills in an authentic, confidential environment – helping you deepen and broaden your capabilities and make an even greater impact.
How Can Innolect Help?
As a woman-owned business, we have a successful track record of helping other women achieve success in their chosen careers. At Innolect, we pride ourselves in helping our clients become “Listening Leaders.” Browse our Listening Resources to continue developing your listening knowledge and skills.
We supply the foundation for you to bring your best self to work, and we thrive on growing the leader in everyone. We are committed to helping leaders develop and grow their teams. Learn more about our approaches to team development and team building HERE.
To set up a consultation or training, contact us today. Additionally, our products and assessments help leaders develop the skills and capabilities needed to grow. Read our latest book: Ignite Your Imagination: 21 Ways to Learn.
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