As a leader, your role is more than just providing direction and accountability. You are not simply managing projects and processes, running meetings, and overseeing your team’s progress. You impact the growth of your team, propelling them further through your influence. You can push your team to be forward thinkers, problem solvers, and self-motivators. Or you can stifle creativity, reduce trust, and inhibit collaboration. Consider the following ways you impact your team and decide to make changes that will benefit you as a leader and your team as a whole.
Practices with a Negative Impact
1. Leading with Fear-Based Authority
There’s nothing wrong with establishing yourself as an authority figure over your team. However, if your authority is the only way you influence your team, you will inevitably withdraw from them. A fear-based authority places you out of reach and unconnected to your team. You deliver deadlines and expectations, then come down hard on your team if they fail in any way. This causes your team to become unnecessarily stressed if they are too afraid to ask clarifying questions and feel intense pressure to perform. Results are panicked, and there is zero room for creativity and innovation. You do your company a disservice if your authority prevents forward-thinking, healthy conversation, and leaves no room for error.
2. Establishing Strict Social Norms
Leaders often set social norms within the work culture. Sometimes this is unintentional. But in most cases, leaders know that if they can get one or two key people to adopt these norms, then they can manipulate the rest of the team. How? Shame. Shaming becomes the number one tactic to ensure everyone conforms. If anyone on the team feels shamed by a coworker or manager, they will often shift their thinking quickly. Leaders influence social norms in small ways like dress or attendance or impact big choices like technology use and strategies. Social norms are a natural part of the work culture—just make sure you’re not establishing certain norms to manipulate your team.
3. Withholding Information
When you make information scarce, withholding pertinent information, you create a team filled with distrust and unhealthy competition. If employees suspect their colleagues know something they don’t, collaboration is stifled, and gossip runs rampant. You show your true colors as a leader who is willing to sabotage the growth of his team in an attempt to maintain control. But this does not set you up to be a respected leader with a thriving team. Instead, your willingness to be transparent and forthcoming improves efficiency, collaboration, and loyalty.
Practices with a Positive Impact
1. Consistency and Reliability
When you provide true leadership by guiding your team and supporting them in their projects, you empower your employees. Rather than simply stating a lofty expectation and then waiting for perfect production, you communicate with your team and, together, come up with the best strategies to make everyone successful. Then, you follow through. Show your commitment to your team and their success by supporting them, being available, and encouraging them to achieve their goals. This not only sets up space for creativity, innovation, and effective performance, but it also motivates your employees to grow in their professional development.
2. Connectivity and Liking
Leaders who sit in an office, without professional relationships with their team foster an environment of distrust and fear. However, leaders that connect with their employees, are empathetic toward their team’s needs, and like their colleagues, establish collaboration, trust, and respect in the office. When employees feel seen, heard, and supported, employee satisfaction skyrockets. If your employees enjoy their job, the results will be improved communication and performance. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Transparency builds trust within an organization. Trust is necessary if you want your company to move forward. Employees respect leaders who are open, who share information—good and bad—and remain authentic. As a leader who values transparency, you allow your team to sift through the given information and offer fresh perspectives, creative ideas, and effective processes. Your transparency gives your team the necessary knowledge as well as the courage to collaborate with one another and ultimately perform more autonomously and efficiently.
To learn more strategies that will enhance your leadership skills and positively impact your organization, contact Trinity Training and Development today.