Being a leader is both an art and a science. It takes great skill and development to be able to lead and effectively manage your team. While it takes time and a concerted effort to be a great leader, there are simple changes you can make to your approach that can make the biggest difference. Researchers for many companies have conducted extensive studies to figure out what the most effective leadership strategies look like. Based on their research, they have come to discover three simple changes that can improve your leadership style.
Support Your Team, Don’t Lead Them
One fascinating strategy that leaders at Facebook use starts with making a critical mentality shift. So, the managers at Facebook don’t “lead” their teams, they “support” them instead. This one-word shift from lead to support can completely alter how you view your role as a leader and change how you approach your interactions with your team. Sometimes, the smallest changes can make the biggest impact even if it is simply changing one word.
Encourage and Welcome Escalation
Recent studies showed that about 85 percent of employees withhold critical feedback from their bosses. Most of the time, if workers feel like they will get in trouble by coming to you with an issue, they won’t do it. Without open and transparent communication, there will be little room for innovation, collaboration, and engagement with your employees. Through their research, Google discovered the concept of “psychological safety” which is important for leaders to focus on creating. This means the way you operate ensures people feel safe coming to you with problems, challenges, and improvements. Two ways to create this psychological safety is by encouraging and welcoming escalation and concerns by showing your appreciation when it happens. The second is by making sure everyone gets the chance to speak during team meetings.
As mentioned previously, your job isn’t to lead your team, but rather to support them. This means you want to remove any obstacles and one of the biggest obstacles you can remove is team members holding themselves back. So, in the last point, we mentioned ensuring that everyone in the meeting gets the chance to speak and there are a few ways to make that a reality. First, make a list of everyone who is attending. Then, place a checkmark next to people’s names when they do speak. As you begin to notice the same people who talk consistently, try to engage the quieter team members and ask for their input. You don’t want to be too pushy as you want to make sure everyone still feels comfortable, but you want to make sure that everyone and their opinions feel valued and wanted.