Cultures are not built, they are created.
Reread that quote. A culture, whether it be something as large as your entire organization, or as small as your team, is a complex whole that is created organically through the manifestation and implementation of consistent behaviors, actions, and practices. When a new person joins an already established work culture, they can read the employee manual to get a sense of what the team is about, but what really resonates are the actions of their team members in their daily tasks.
Regardless of the industry you are in, the foundations for creating a great culture within your organization and team are always the same. Through these behaviors and actions, we can set the base for a great culture to emerge.Advertising
Who do we want to be?
In the case of a startup company, the founding members have the best purview of who they want to be and where they want to go. If you are starting a new team or taking over an existing one, you need to first take a step back and determine who you want to be, what will define you and your team, and what you see as the implementation of your guiding principles to achieve that goal. In its simplest form, this can be a set of tenets laid out on everyone’s desk that drive people’s actions, or a few keywords that reinforce those values. Whichever form it takes, remember that it must be clear. If you can’t articulate it in 30 seconds, how do you expect someone to understand it and follow it?
If people are constantly asking for clarification, then you need to clean it up and simplify it.
In any team, there will always be failures and successes – whether it be for the team itself or an individual who made a mistake. A cornerstone of any great team culture is to ensure that when failures happen, they are treated the same as successes – what did we do wrong, how can we learn from this, what do we do next – those are the approaches to failure that breed trust within a team.Advertising
If every failure is harped upon and made an example of, then you’ll never get to see the benefits of empowerment, determination, and passion that shine through in those toughest moments. It must be emphasized that in these scenarios, trust goes both ways – just as you need to trust those on your team when they fail, you too should be trusted by your team when you fail and make mistakes.
It’s not always easy, but when that commitment to knowing that everyone is working towards the same goal and possibly stumbling along the way to get there, the commitment to achieve is further emboldened.
From knowing who we are and trusting one another, a sense of empathy starts to emerge where we know the success of the team is not tied to individual performance, but instead to that of the team. When this is understood, as a team, we work harder to listen more and talk less, understand someone’s weaknesses and identify where we can help, and give respect to those around us. New team members often bear the brunt when a lack of empathy is in place with words such as, “I’ve already explained it enough times, what’s taking so long to understand it?” when really what should be said is, “what can I do to help you wrap your head around this or understand what to do next?”.Advertising
Empathy as a part of culture forges the bonds for our final piece of building a great culture. Empathy really comes into play in our feedback channels to one another. A great team culture needs to have a proper feedback mechanism in place where team members feel open to receiving critical feedback on their performance. Providing it at the same time and knowing the feedback given and received is for the benefit of the team and not hidden agendas.
Capacity for Growth
A good culture works on what you are doing today, grinding through tasks, checking off boxes, while looking like superstars. A great team looks to the future, what is coming down the pipe next, what should be thought about, what factors are going to affect us, and how we hit that challenge coming down the road. When a team is built for the capacity of growth, they are not looking for quick wins and pyrrhic victories, instead, they are focused on long-term growth, development, and sustainability. It’s when all the other elements to a great culture are in place that we can truly consider the capacity for growth. When a project goes badly based on a new approach, the team doesn’t assign blame, they learn from the mistake and move forward, not returning to the status quo, while staying committed to growing and trying something new.
While looking at each piece of a team culture, one might assume that you could have three pieces of a foundation and skip the one that doesn’t affect you today. But this would be a failure as all pieces must work together in unison, bound by an unflinching desire to create something that can withstand the good times as well as the bad without the team feeling the effects one way over the other.Advertising
You can’t build a culture, but you can create one.
Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com
Last Updated on February 20, 2019
Master These 10 Management Skills to Become a Strong Leader
The newspaper headlines, blogs, social media, TV programs are talking about leaders, leadership qualities and people who occupy high positions in government, enterprises and multinational corporations more and more every day.
We understand that all these high positions are not the main things we should talk about. Leadership is not about the profession, place of a particular person in the hierarchy of the company or government body. It doesn’t make anyone a strong leader.
Being a strong leader means acquiring management skills which allow you to lead people, to get them to the new achievements and high results. That’s the ticket. It doesn’t matter you are a small company manager or an industry leader the next list of TOP-10 management skills will boost your effectiveness, will make you a strong leader.
1. Always Inspire the Team
Remember that your job is not just about hitting goals, enhancing sales or raising profits. We both realize the importance of these indicators for stakeholders and investors.
Now let’s focus on leading your team. Be rooted in reality and always strive to give your empathy, perspective to all circumstances and situations you encounter.
Roll up your sleeves and inspire:
- Be visible among your staff to become their inspiration. There is no chance to be a good leader hiding in your office on a top floor;
- Join your team to complete ad-hoc projects. Believe us, your participation and contribution is always inspiring;
- Focus on each person’s strengths, stay enthusiastic with his/her contribution;
- Be closer to your team;
- Find the right words. It may be the biggest challenge of the day, the right words in a difficult situation can show that you are a really good leader.
Need more inspirations? This article can help:
2. Make a Wise Delegation Your Number One Priority
It is obvious that you can’t do everything by yourself. Moreover, you shouldn’t do that.
Your ability to delegate responsibilities shows that you trust your staff, you are sure in their competitiveness.
It is the best thing that you can do within a team environment. You’re able to kill two birds with one stone: you can reduce your own stress level and make the workplace more friendly showing confidence in workers’ abilities.
How to delegate to the right person?
When you’re thinking about the person who will take some responsibilities consider three factors:
- The relevance between the skills, experience of the person and the delegated tasks;
- Working style (is he or she is a team player or independent performer; does he has goals which correspond with the responsibilities which you want to delegate?);
- The workload of the person (does he/she has time to take new responsibilities or this delegation requires some reshuffling of responsibilities).
Check out Lifehack’s CEO advice on how to delegate:
3. Stay Responsible and Don’t Blame
Failures always happen. You need to accept this fact and learn how to overcome them. Your job is not to find who is wrong but to take responsibility together with your staff.
Make your subordinates understand that all of them are accountable for the decisions they make. Remember that you are their leader, you should take a part of the responsibility for their actions.
Always give them a pat on the back if you see their good results but don’t blame in case of failure. Make an atmosphere in which everyone feels your support and willingness to realize mistakes together and work on their improvement hand by hand.
Taking personal responsibility for your company and everything that happens in it including failures will motivate your employees to follow you.
Don’t make excuses, better do this:
- Take your personal responsibility for the failure;
- Try to work on the problem to fix it;
- Think about what you should have done before to prevent this mistake and what to improve in the future.
4. Encourage Creative Thinking and Innovations
What is the difference between the follower and the leader? The leader always looks ahead, he is not afraid of innovations, creative approaches to management and business processes.
Innovative and creative thinking are qualities which make you stand out from the crowd and enable your team to get 200%, not 100% of the result.
Don’t forget to encourage your staff because the majority of people perceive innovations painfully and adopt new rules with reluctance. It is all about phycology, a good leader should take it into account.
How to encourage creativity?
- Become a model for your staff, show your dedication to innovations;
- Create a supportive atmosphere for creativity in a workplace;
- Launch events and processes to find and capture creative ideas;
- Reward fresh ideas, innovations, celebrate success with your team.
You can also train your brain to boost creativity:
5. Stay Positive in Any Circumstances
If you want to be a great leader, you should understand that you need to be positive and motivated despite any circumstances.
Even in the hardest situation, you should be an example to follow for your staff because you will be who leads the way, so stand firm and show a positive attitude.
Always keep the lights
- Create constantly friendly, open atmosphere in your workplace;
- Remain positive when things go wrong;
- Find the ways to keep your team motivated when the situation goes in a bad way.
Here’re more tips to help you stay positive:
6. Develop Your Employees
Along with developing yourself don’t forget that without people around you and their skills the success may be not so bright.
Thanks to the staff development, not only employees will get new skills which they can use when they write resumes, your team can make tasks easier; besides, it will foster morale.
Use this tips to develop your staff
- Turn your staff meetings into an instrument of learning;
- Launch annual education/ training for employees with coaches, experts;
- Encourage their willingness to develop their skills;
- Share your own knowledge with your team
7. Remember Your past Experience When Making a Decision
Futuristic vision is good. But you can’t go far in business without your experience. You should make all management decisions taking into account not only your skills, statistics, ideas of key stakeholders or innovative approaches.
You should also consider your past lessons. The right decision made at the right time has a great impact on the masses.
Look ahead, think hard before making a decision. But after you make it, be firm and stand by it.
How to improve your decision making:
- Trust your management vision, intuition;
- Try to connect your present-day challenge with the lessons which you learned in your career before;
- Better to take notes when you make important decisions, write down the results both positive and negative so that you could get back to them in the future.
8. Show Your Charisma and Confidence
As for charisma, everything is simple like wiping the window in the rain. People normally are more likely to follow the person who they like.
Let’s remember the best leaders. All of them are friendly, close to people, well-spoken, showing care and empathy.
If you behave in that way, your employees feel that it is not hard to reach you, they will show a willingness to follow you.
Make confidence your strength
Believe in your success and your company’s prosperity, show it everywhere.
A great leader exhibits confidence to everyone in any situation. This will inspire your employees and give them the feeling of confidence in the future, that’s exactly what you need for enhancing their achievements.
9. Sense of Humor Is Vital to Success
As a leader, you need to have a sense of humor. Show it when something goes wrong and you need to encourage, relax your employees.
The ability to laugh things off can make morale up which is so important for staff productivity in difficult situations.
How the sense of humor can save you in some situations:
- Humor is able to humanize you. It makes your employees feel that you are all in the same boat, boost camaraderie;
- It is a key component of a set of empathetic leadership.
- Humor promotes a sense of shared culture, unity in a workplace.
10. Consider Failures as Challenges Not as Unrecoverable Mistakes
Even if you try the hardest in the world failures will happen. Your job is to cope with them and do it with honor.
If something goes wrong, realize that it has already happened and try to find the best solution.
How to manage failures?
- Remain calm, think logically;
- Don’t stay apart from your team because it may cause the negative morale;
- Encourage discussion, communication within the team to find the root of the problem, design the best solution.
The Bottom Line
It is not easy to become a strong leader, you must have a lot of qualities and experiences. You should look ahead and go beyond the frames in your everyday tasks and responsibilities.
Moreover, you should be an example of intelligence, wisdom, honesty, commitment and dedication. And that’s why these 10 management skills are so important to master if you want to become a great leader.
More Resources About Leadership And Management
- Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?
- The Careful Art of Delegation
- 10 Must-Have Life Skills For Great Managers
- Why Leadership and Management Are Two Sides of a Coin
Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com