Today's leadership styles focus strongly on supporting others, emotional intelligence and people development. There will be times when you have to make unpopular decisions or give negative feedback. Effective leaders handle these situations with diplomacy and tact.
Here are our top 7 leadership tips for dealing with tricky situations, including information on how to help team leaders and managers engage, motivate and inspire.
A recent survey from the Ken Blanchard Companies that polled 1,400 executives, found that one of the most common mistakes leaders make is not giving prompt feedback. Waiting for a performance review to give feedback can mean a problem is prolonged which can cause greater issues. Regular feedback in the right way is a great way of letting your team know you're there and continually improving performance.
Wouldn't life be easier if we had more time? When you're a leader or manager, it's easy to get so engulfed in your own workload that you forget to make yourself available to your team. Making time for them is essential as they need direction, guidance, support and recognition. Block out time in your diary especially for this. Try not to cancel as this gives out the message that other things are more important. Have times when you have an 'open door' policy. Motivate and understand your team. Spend time on the floor, walking round and listening to people, you'll get a real sense of who's who in your team. Once you're in a leadership or management role, your team should always come first - this is, at heart, what good leadership is all about.
It’s all about talking to your team and connecting with them and I mean really connecting to them. It’s commonplace in organisations that managers and leaders get caught up in business jargon and forget that just simplifying information is one of the best ways to engage your team. Language such as core competency, move the needle and swim lane are sited as some of the most annoying corporate jargon phrases by Harvard business school and it turns your team off. So make sure your language connects, is human, emotional and simple and next time you feel the need to reach out, shift a paradigm, leverage a best practice or join a tiger team, by all means do it. Just don’t say you’re doing it, because all that meaningless business jargon makes you sound like a complete moron
Most of us want to be seen as friendly and approachable. After all, people are happier working for a manager or leader that they get on with. However, you'll sometimes have to make tough decisions regarding people in your team, and some people will be tempted to take advantage of your relationship if you're over-friendly with them. This doesn't mean that you can't socialise. But, you do need to get the balance right between being a friend and being the boss. Setting clear boundaries, ensuring you follow up on procedures when needed and being flexible at times will all help in creating the balanced relationship needed to be a great leader or manager.
Having clear goals means people can work through their day and know what they're working toward. It helps them prioritise tasks, be more productive and feel in control. Working collaboratively to set goals is even more powerful. When your people don't have clear goals, they muddle through their day-to-day tasks. They can't be as productive if they have no idea what they're working for, or what their work means. They also can't prioritise their workload effectively, meaning that projects and tasks get completed in the wrong order. Aligning individual goals with team and organisational goals will help people feel part of the bigger picture. This is where management and leadership relationships come into their own. Communication up and down the ranks is essential.
Understanding the individuals in your team and what makes them motivated pays dividends. Many leaders make the mistake of assuming that their team is only working for monetary reward. However, it's unlikely that this will be the only thing that motivates them. Extra responsibility, trust, praise for achievements, a sense of being part of something bigger and helping with personal and professional development are all things that motivate individuals and make them happy at work.
Take a test on the Mind Tools website to see where your motivating skills need addressing.
A recent Harvard Business review, Primal Leadership: The Hidden Driver of Great Performance, noted that:
"Good moods galvanize good performance, but it doesn't make sense for a leader to be as chipper as a blue jay at dawn if sales are tanking or the business is going under. The most effective executives display moods and behaviours that match the situation at hand, with a healthy dose of optimism mixed in. They respect how other people are feeling – even if it is glum or defeated – but they also model what it looks like to move forward with hope and humour." The operative threesome here is optimism, hope and humour. As someone once put it, leaders are dealers in hope.
As a leader or manager the mood of others is in your hands. The mood you set affects who intensely people engage, give back and buy-in to messages. Your mood and its ability to infect others is one of the most effect tools you have as a leader.
Let us know your top leadership tips for dealing with tricky situations by using the comments box below.
Point 3 mentions the term 'Tiger team' Who uses the phrase 'Tiger Team' - they need to be named and shamed!
What does it mean?