The 8 Best Ways to Evolve as a Leader
What are the fundamental qualities that will inspire employees to accomplish organizational goals and achieve growth?
The quality of leadership plays a critical role in determining the success of an organization. It is concerning to note that a majority of employees express dissatisfaction with their leaders, who often lack effectiveness and fail to set a positive example.
Managers – more than any other factor – influence team engagement and performance. That's not an exaggeration: 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager (Gallup, Global Analytics 2023).
Whether you are a new manager or a seasoned executive, we will guide you through essential practices such as cultivating self-awareness and embracing unique challenges.
Armed with these practical tips to enhance your leadership capabilities, you will be well-equipped to drive success and become the exemplary leader that your team truly deserves.
1. Practice Self-Reflection and Self-Awareness
The first step to evolving as a leader is to develop a deep sense of self-reflection and self-awareness. This means taking the time to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and your leadership and communication styles. By being aware of your own tendencies, you can adjust your behavior and better connect with your team. Self-reflection and self-awareness also enable you to make more informed decisions, respond more effectively to challenges, and inspire your team to achieve their goals.
2. Foster a Culture of Trust
A culture of trust is essential for any successful organization. As a leader, it's your responsibility to build and foster that culture. This means being transparent, consistent, and reliable in your actions and communication. It also means trusting your team members and empowering them to make decisions and take ownership of their work. When you establish trust, you create an environment where people feel safe to take risks, speak up, and collaborate effectively.
3. Practice Active Listening
Active listening is a powerful leadership skill that enables you to understand your team members' perspectives, needs, and concerns. When you actively listen to your team, you build rapport, foster empathy, and gain valuable insights that inform your decision-making. Active listening also demonstrates that you value your team's input and care about their success. This helps to build a culture of engagement and collaboration, where everyone feels heard and valued.
4. Embrace Diversity and Inclusion
Embracing diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do, but it's also good for business. As a leader, it's your responsibility to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of their background, identity, or experience. This means taking proactive steps to address bias, promote diversity, and create opportunities for all team members to succeed. Embracing diversity and inclusion also fosters innovation, creativity, and productivity, as different perspectives and experiences lead to better problem-solving and decision-making.
5. Lead by Example
Leadership is not about telling people what to do, but about leading by example. As a leader, you need to embody the values and behaviors that you want your team to exhibit. This means modeling the behaviors that you want to see, such as accountability, collaboration, and innovation. Leading by example also means being transparent, honest, and humble in your actions and communication, and treating others with respect and dignity.
6. Provide Feedback and Recognition
Providing regular feedback and recognition is essential for creating a culture of continuous improvement and success. As a leader, you need to provide constructive feedback to help your team members grow and develop. This means offering specific, actionable feedback that enables them to improve their skills and performance. It also means recognizing and celebrating their successes and achievements, no matter how small. Providing feedback and recognition demonstrates that you care about your team's success and that you are invested in their growth and development.
7. Continuously Learn and Grow
Leadership growth is a continuous process, and the best way to evolve as a leader is to continuously learn and grow. This means staying up-to-date on industry trends, seeking out new information, and challenging yourself to improve. Attend conferences, read books, and take online courses to expand your knowledge and skill set. Encourage your team to do the same, and provide opportunities for them to learn and grow as well. When you make learning and growth a priority, you inspire your team to do the same.
8. Empower Your Team
Empowering your team to take ownership of their work is essential for creating a culture of engagement and productivity. This means providing them with the resources, support, and guidance they need to succeed. It also means giving them the autonomy to make decisions and take risks. When you empower your team, you demonstrate that you trust and value them, which inspires them to take ownership of their work and achieve their goals.
What to do next?
Now that you've learned the eight best ways to evolve as a leader, it's time to take action. Here are some concrete steps you can take to put these ideas into practice:
- Schedule moments for self-reflection: Take time each week to reflect on your leadership style and how you can improve.
- Slowly build/rebuild trust with your team: Focus on building trust by being transparent, consistent, and reliable in your actions and communication.
- Practice active listening: Make an effort to listen actively to your team members, and respond with empathy and understanding.
- Lead by example: Model the behaviors that you want to see in your team, and treat others with respect and dignity.
- Provide feedback and recognition: Provide regular feedback to help your team members grow, and recognize their successes and achievements.
- Continuously learn and grow: Stay up-to-date on industry trends, and seek out opportunities to learn and grow.
- Empower your team: Provide your team with the resources, support, and guidance they need to succeed, and give them the autonomy to make decisions and take risks.
By taking action and implementing these strategies, you can evolve as a leader and inspire your team to achieve their goals and accomplish organizational growth.
Remember, leadership growth is a continuous process, so keep learning, growing, and evolving to become the best leader you can be. And consider joining Executive Agenda because individuals who regularly participate in structured, business issue-based, peer learning make better decisions and their organizations achieve better results.
Executive Agenda is Wisconsin’s oldest and largest peer membership organization dedicated exclusively to executive development across diverse business functions.
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