In today’s climate, being a great leader encompasses so much more than simply being brilliant at your job. Building a strong vision, inspiring and motivating your team to give their best and empowering them to unlock their full potential are just some of the responsibilities the leaders of today take on. What should some of your key priorities be as a leader, especially in challenging times of change?
In this final webinar of our series for small businesses and recruitment agencies, James Atkins from Vantage Strategy shares some tips and strategies for leading and inspiring your teams through times of turbulent change.
Read the summary here or watch the full webinar recording below.
Driving change in a volatile and changing market
It takes a strong-willed and experienced individual to drive change in an ever-changing business landscape. A high performing leader goes through five phases of development; and their value to the business increases as they progress through these phases.
- Phase 1 – Individual/Foundational skills: Individual seeks to cultivate better leading habits and problem-solving skills.
- Phase 2 – Manager/Team builder: Individual can drive a high performing team through implementation and changes.
- Phase 3 – Coach/Mentor: Individual can lead by examples, coach and mentor their team members to achieve high performance.
- Phase 4 – Leader/Strategist: Individual can develop and execute strategies effectively.
- Phase 5 – Role Model/Visionary Leader: Individual has a clear vision for the future of the business and becomes a role model for other leaders.
In addition to IQ and EQ, a high level of Adversity Quotient (AQ) is critically important for leaders in times of change. Leaders need to be proactive, flexible, curious, resourceful, driven and open-minded enough to ask more “What If” questions, actively unlearn (and relearn) and prioritise exploration of opportunities in order to strengthen their adaptability.
Major barriers to organisational changes include having too many priorities, lack of accountability to strategies, plans and goals, outdated systems, lack of innovations when it comes to products and services, lack of skills to manage productivity when working from home, and last but not least, change fatigue.
To overcome these challenges and get the team to perform, organisations must understand what drives their employees.
Are people looking for more freedom to self-direct (Autonomy), opportunities to improve their skill sets (Mastery) or intrinsic motivation (Purpose)?
Developing a leadership strategy that sets you and your business up for success
To successfully regrow, organisations must rethink their capabilities to emerge in a winning position from the pandemic. There are four imperatives for doing so, including:
- Construct tomorrow’s team, today
- Identify, elevate and re-direct focus to a small number of business skills that count the most
- Treat technological acumen as you treat profit targets
- Liberate teams to problem solve and respond quickly to customer feedback
Delivering results with a high performing team
According to Lencioni’s hierarchy of 5 Team Dysfunctions, a cohesive and high performing team is built upon a strong foundation of trust. This will allow people to overcome their fear of conflict and stay committed to the result, while holding each other accountable in the process.
Leaders must be able to identify some of the obstacles that hinder their teams’ performance. Those might be organisational issues such as the uncertainty brought about by the current environmental and political climate, or individual issues such as their team members’ levels of skills, self-esteem, emotional intelligence, and experience.
To achieve a high level of commitment and accountability from the team, leaders need to understand the following realities and act accordingly:
- Team members do not expect to always have their way in decision making. However, it is important that their ideas and opinions are being heard and considered.
- The most effective form of accountability is from peers, not from managers or subordinates. Therefore, a company culture that encourages open and honest feedback among peers is likely to yield positive outcomes.
The art of coaching
Leaders are also recommended to practice situational coaching, a style of management that balances directive (telling) and non-directive (listening) behaviors. Examples include asking questions to prompt critical thinking instead of providing answers, leading by example, and removing barriers and poor habits for the teams to gain more professional development.
There are several useful coaching frameworks that leaders might use to map out the development of their team members. For instance, the Enthusiasm/Skill Matrix offers a guide on whether to trust, instruct, supervise or motivate each individual member.
Once that is decided, the GROW model (Goal, Reality, Options, Will) will come in handy to help them reach their personal goals:
Source: Performance Consultants
An alternative method is the Now – Where – How model which serves the same purpose:
There are countless ways to be an effective leader in your organisation. Leading teams comes with varied challenges, with time but equipping yourself with the necessary knowledge and skills to overcome these challenges will surely help you to pave the way to success for your teams.