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9 Ways To Be A Connective Leader Who Can Hold The Team

9 Ways To Be A Connective Leader Who Can Hold The Team

Being a connective leader is no harder than becoming a skilled musician. If you apply these principles and play by the rules, people will follow you.

1. Encourage creativity.

Always involve others in seeking solutions. One of the qualities that makes us different from every other person is our creativity. It’s good to explore the creativity of each member of your team. Diversity brings innovation. From my years of leading several teams, I have discovered that the best ideas often come from passive members of the team. It doesn’t matter that everyone is not outspoken, what really matters is that everyone is heard. Always make sure you involve every member of the team in decision making, regardless of their personality.

2. Become an active listener.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Listening and hearing is not the same thing. Your ability to listen as a leader is your greatest asset, and it’s an asset not many leaders possess. Everyone wants to be heard; no one wants to listen. Sometimes just try to listen and not say anything. When you listen, you show your team members that you care about them and this encourages them to share with you. If you are going to be a connective leader, especially one who is skilled at problem solving, you just have to become an active listener.

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3. It’s okay to fail.

Failure is not the end of the world. In fact, you cannot succeed until you have failed. There is no way your teammates will not make mistakes, so the way you handle such mistakes is what will determine what kind of leader you are. Allow your teammates to safely face and self correct it whenever they fail or make mistakes. When someone makes a mistake, compliment her for her effort and tell her that she can do better next time. “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”

4. It’s all right to be a friend.

The days of autocratic leadership and dictatorship are far gone. There is a popular saying that “leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.” You can’t move people to action unless you first move them with emotion. Being a friend is not as hard as it seems; all you have to do is take personal interest in the growth and success of everyone you lead. Learn their names, find out where they live, give them something of value on their birthdays. Connect with them emotionally, and they will follow you to the moon.

5. Lead your team on a journey.

One of the costliest mistakes most leaders make is that they want to get to the Promised Land first and before everyone else. A team is called that because it consists of diverse people seeking a common goal. Whatever your team’s goal might be, make sure you carry everyone along. Even footballers are not happy when they get benched, regardless of whether or not the team wins a trophy. Let your team members help you as you make crucial decisions and overcome difficult challenges. They say that “success is a journey, not a destination.” Allow your teammates experience the joy of overcoming each challenge on the way to glory.

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6. Invest in your team.

I saw a funny joke recently. A CFO was having a conversation with the CEO of a firm.

CFO to CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us?”

CEO to CFO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

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The education of your team members should be a major concern to you as the leader. The more individual team members grow, the bigger and better the organization or group becomes. There is a popular saying that “to double your productivity, triple your education.” In other words, to double the strength of your team, triple the education of your team members. Investing in your team members also brings loyalty.

7. Give recognition.

Don’t try to take all the glory. Give recognition to whom recognition is due. According to Dale Carnegie, “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” Recognition is a major motivation to humans. Who doesn’t like to be recognized? We all love recognition and compliments. Take note of even the little things and make sure you give compliments openly so that the receiver can be very happy. This will also help other members of the team to strive harder so they can receive compliments for their good works.

8. Let your actions inspire others.

“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” ―Mahatma Gandhi

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People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves. In a typical organization, the moment your subordinate becomes stronger than you, he will become your boss and you will become the subordinate. One way to earn respect is to do what you say. You lead by example and from the front. First show your subordinates that you can do it, and they will follow you. They will give their best to become like you

9. Trust is a must.

To be a connective leader, you must earn the trust of your team members. There are various ways to earn trust but some of the best ways are: make your teammates comfortable around you; don’t judge people by their weaknesses and inadequacies and don’t do divide and rule; be a good listener; be your team members’ no. 1 cheerleader, and so on. No matter what you do, you will never be a connective leader if you don’t have the trust and respect of your team members, so earn it.

Featured photo credit: West Point – The U.S. Military Academy via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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