by William Rizzo | Jul 13, 2022 | Leadership Skills
Outstanding leadership is a combination of many qualities. However, as businesses and markets evolve, leaders need to develop with them. Increasing productivity begins with increasing your leadership capacity.
Leaders rely on their experience. Quite often, they’ve been through a lot and seen it all. But in the race to add new skills, are leaders ignoring the most critical tool for improving their stewardship: how they think about approaching challenges.
Deep thinking is an important quality of good leadership. Here are a few ways you can develop this valuable quality and increase your leadership capacity.
Problems crop up every day. Solving them is a mark of strong leadership. However, diving headfirst into solutions isn’t always the optimal play.
Instead, leaders should ask questions about the problems they face, such as:
- How did we get here?
- What lessons have we learned?
- What elements are causing us tension?
Not all problems are simply something that needs to be fixed; they’re also a learning opportunity. Workplace issues do need to be addressed, but not before you mine them for valuable lessons.
Prioritize deeper understanding
Many people judge outstanding leadership by the ability to act swiftly. While this is an important characteristic, thinking and listening are other valuable traits.
Next time you are faced with a problem, measure how quickly you start to solve it. Are you listening to everyone? Are you gaining a greater understanding of the problem before you begin to implement actions?
Great leadership is about being able to listen and understand problems fully. Again, ensure you are getting feedback from your entire team that you can then build into your decision-making.
Accept different perspectives
We all know the world isn’t black and white. But when it comes to leadership, some nuance can get lost due to time constraints and pressure to be decisive, despite our best intentions.
One way to combat these inefficiencies is to seek the counsel of your team. Make decision-making a more collaborative process so you can get more perspectives.
Challenge your thinking by encouraging other perspectives and input from people with different backgrounds. While you need to trust your instincts, it’s worth supplementing them with other voices.
Build a team with diverse perspectives
A big part of leadership is building teams that can pull in the same direction. Having everyone on the same page is key to increasing productivity. However, that shouldn’t be at the cost of a diversity of thinking.
Any leadership team can benefit from diverse thinking and backgrounds. When we have a broader pool of viewpoints, we can gain better insights and understanding and even unlock new perspectives.
Use your inner dialogue to grow as a leader
One of the most powerful ways to increase our leadership capacity is through our inner dialogue. Change and growth require a lot of work that begins within the individual.
All leaders need to do a lot of reflection on how they think about the world. Additionally, we should be mindful and intentional in how we engage with others.
Reflecting on who we are is essential, especially for leaders. So listen to your thoughts and question what drives them. You might be able to learn a lot about yourself.
Markets and businesses are in constant flux. Methods and strategies that worked in the past can quickly go out of fashion, leaving leadership teams behind the curve.
Teams interested in increasing productivity in a constantly evolving world need to do the work to develop and grow their thinking. If you need help adapting your leadership to contemporary demands, get in touch today to see how we can help.
by William Rizzo | Jun 15, 2022 | Leadership Skills
For most organizations, developing management teams is the number one priority. While there is no such thing as the perfect team, significant improvements can always be made. But identifying gaps in leadership is not always easy, especially when things are going smoothly.
Leadership gaps are often only found when a project gets derailed or mistakes are made. No leader wants to wait until a problem occurs to find out their management team needs to sharpen up their leadership skills.
Here are five ways to identify gaps in leadership in any organization.
1. Look for Silos
If you notice your leadership has become somewhat disconnected or unable to collaborate effectively, there is a chance you have a leadership gap. Team silos often negatively affect communication and halt any progress when it comes to group projects.
Unfortunately, this seems to be an issue that is only increasing due to the shift to remote work making it more challenging to build a cohesive team.
2. Search for Focus on Employee Needs
In the last two years, we have seen massive changes regarding where work gets done, how it gets done, and how we interact with our teams. Are your managers in touch with what employees need to succeed? If you have a high turnover rate, this can be a sign of a leadership gap.
Attracting and retaining the right team is crucial when it comes to the success of organizations. This should always be a top priority.
3. Conduct Post-Mortems
It is incredibly important to take the time to do a post-project analysis. You need to take note of what went wrong, what went well, and what the team can do better in the future to complete the project in a better way. This analysis can allow the team to shed light on leadership gaps that must be addressed.
4. Listen to All Customer Feedback
Does your management team sustain and create positive relationships with all clients? Sometimes it can be very tempting to try to solve the immediate issue and move on when you receive negative feedback from your customers. However, it is crucial that you look at any trends in customer issues.
This will allow you to find out where gaps are occurring in the services you provide and whether such gaps are as a result of a leadership issue.
5. Take a Leadership Health Assessment
One of the best ways to truly identify leadership gaps within your business is to conduct a leadership health assessment. This will allow you to identify any strengths and weaknesses within your organization.
The Bottom Line
In a business environment that is rapidly growing and changing, every organization needs to take a step back and check to ensure that its leadership teams are stronger than ever. Need help with this? Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!
by William Rizzo | May 18, 2022 | Leadership Skills
The turmoil of the past couple of years has changed the labor market. Employees are increasingly more willing to leave unsatisfactory employers; they demand competitive compensation and benefits, an equitable work environment, and respect from their managers and employers.
Expectations from workers are high, and it’s time for companies to meet and even exceed worker expectations. Building and implementing an effective people strategy ensures your company can attract and retain talented workers.
What is a People Strategy?
A company’s people strategy refers to its plan for its workers. Your people strategy aims to build a strong bond with your workers and offer a better employee experience.
People strategy doesn’t focus on the administrative tasks associated with retaining workers and establishing a favorable culture; instead, it focuses on the tactical steps that help your company attract and retain your workers.
Strategies in your people strategy may pertain to:
- Attracting job applicants
- Building leaders
- Retaining workers
- Establishing a strong connection with workers
- Encouraging C-suite and stakeholders to embrace a cohesive strategy for decisions about your human capital
Your people strategy functions as a road map that your company should follow when dealing with your current and future labor force.
Benefits of a Successful People Strategy
There are multiple benefits associated with a fruitful people strategy that helps your company achieve its goals for growth and profitability. These benefits include:
- Improving employee loyalty and engagement
- Encouraging high-performing teams
- Boosting productivity
- Creating an environment that supports employee success
- Fostering connection and collaboration among your company’s different departments
The cohesive leadership provided by a stable, consistent people strategy will help your company’s goals for prioritizing initiatives that support workers.
How Do Strong Leadership Skills Improve Your People Strategy?
Strong leadership skills are essential for building a functional people strategy. Your company’s leaders are the driving force behind your company’s vision; they also ensure your people and company get the support they need to survive challenging periods.
It’s essential for your company’s leaders to agree on policies that pertain to critical problems and work to lead the rest of the company by example. A disorganized culture and work environment are dangerous to your company’s future; effective leaders promote a company culture that’s stable and cohesive.
Workers sense when something is wrong. This negatively affects their performance and productivity. They need leaders who find and address issues within the company instead of ignoring problems or placing blame.
Your leadership teams shape your company’s future. To build the future you envision for your company, you need a well-defined people strategy that your leaders embrace and nurture.
Leaders work to ensure that employees understand the roles they can take in following the company’s vision and shaping its future.
Get the Support You Need to Build Your Leadership Abilities
Stellar leadership abilities make the difference when building, implementing, and strengthening your company’s people strategy.
Ready to enhance your leadership skills? Work with us!
by William Rizzo | Apr 14, 2022 | Leadership Skills
Team building is vital for fostering trust and loyalty and increasing productivity. It’s also a great way to establish your company culture and values. But getting it right requires careful consideration and strong leadership.
Here are seven tips for building a successful team.
1. Make Your Company Goals Clear
One of the best ways to boost team cohesion is through a collective sense of purpose. All businesses have goals and KPIs. Ensure that you communicate these goals and clarify how each team member is instrumental in achieving these objectives.
No one should feel in the dark or disconnected from their overall purpose in the team. When your staff understands their goals — and what they need to do to achieve them — they can start pulling together in the same direction.
2. Set a Pathway For Success
Setting goals is just the start of the process. Great leadership also involves establishing deadlines and milestones and offering regular progress check-ins. Try celebrating or rewarding your team as each goal is hit, even with something minor.
3. Use Team Building Activities to Make Employees Feel Connected
As many teams shift to remote or hybrid working, problems can emerge. A Gallup study found that isolation can result in a 21% drop in productivity. Of course, isolation and loneliness were issues in the workforce before the pandemic, but a lack of day-to-day interactions can exacerbate these issues.
Team building exercises — even done remotely — can be hugely beneficial. However, it’s best to consult your team before planning the specific activities. The best leadership styles encourage listening and understanding what interests and motivates your staff.
4. Encourage a Level of Risk-Taking
Building a successful team requires a leadership style that promotes a reasonable level of risking-taking. For example, employees should feel that they can advocate for contrary positions and disagree without fear of punishment.
Teams will naturally disagree about specific directions or processes. Ensuring that they feel free to express their opinion openly is a huge part of creating an environment where employees feel shared and valued.
5. Set the Tone with Honest, But Respectful Communication
Management plays a crucial role in setting the tone for how the team communicates. If leaders are open and respectful, this trickles down into how the team talks to each other and influences how they resolve conflict.
6. Team Building Starts at the Interview Stage
If you want to build a cohesive, well-integrated team, you need to start at the hiring stage. Some candidates with outstanding qualifications and skills might not be a perfect fit for your current team due to poor interpersonal skills, a lack of teamwork skills, or low empathy.
So don’t forget to test social skills by asking behavioral questions at the interview stage.
7. Organize Team Building Exercises Away From the Office
Company off-sites are a great way to build successful teams. With the office distractions a distant memory, your staff can communicate and get to know each other more personally.
Make sure to organize activities that people like. Not everyone will appreciate high-octane group events. So canvas for opinions before making any plans.
In our book, Maximum Accountability, we dedicate an entire chapter to the topic of Team Building. Order your copy today!
by William Rizzo | Mar 9, 2022 | Leadership Skills
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 41.5% of U.S. adults in 2021 have exhibited recent anxiety and/or depression symptoms. While workplace stress may not be the root cause of anxiety and depression for many Americans, a stress-inducing work environment certainly doesn’t help the mental health crisis in America. Fortunately, many workplace leaders are aware of this and making an effort to create a more mindful workplace. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), mindfulness is “a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.” The APA further states the benefits of mindfulness to include:
- Stress Reduction
- Reduced Rumination
- An Increase in Working Memory
- Better Focus
- Less Emotional Reactivity
- More Cognitive Flexibility
- Relationship Satisfaction
Workplaces could greatly benefit from mindfulness. Mindfulness in the workplace can also help alleviate worker burnout—something often associated with anxiety and depression. Companies and workplace leaders will start to see less burnout and possibly even turnover if they implement mindfulness into the workplace. So how can workplace leaders create a more mindful workplace? By exhibiting and creating an atmosphere that includes these four qualities.
The common goal of a workplace can better be achieved with interpersonal skills such as compassion. Compassion, as well as empathy and self-acceptance, make collaboration a more manageable process. When you allow yourself to empathize with another person’s viewpoint, it’s easier to find a way to work together to accomplish a common goal. Workplace leaders can show compassion to employees through simple acts such as taking them to lunch or expressing appreciation through an informal conversation.
Leaders who practice mindfulness know how to be flexible. Flexibility is the key to mindfulness. Being flexible means accepting new information without judgment. Flexibility allows for new and innovative ideas to emerge. Flexibility also means being open to feedback and willing to change based on the feedback received.
Remaining present is an essential quality of a mindful leader. Being present allows for new and creative solutions to come about more easily. Present leaders have an easier time creating new goals and collaborating to achieve those goals with employees. Being present also means being proactive and not being afraid to take matters into your own hands. A present leader is aware of their surroundings and knows how to respond effectively.
A mindful leader is authentic. Communication between employees should be from a place of honesty and authenticity. Being able to communicate honestly with your employees, even in challenging times, will help to create a more positive work environment. An authentic work environment allows employees to communicate and listen openly, enabling better employee development.
Become a Mindful Leader
If you want your leadership skills to blossom and thrive, it’s time to implement mindfulness into the workplace. Order your copy of Maximum Accountability today to learn more about mindfulness in the workplace!
by William Rizzo | Feb 10, 2022 | Leadership Skills
Becoming a great leader is more than just having an impressive title and control over others in your organization. It’s about empowering your team, exceeding your customers’ expectations, and making an extraordinary impact. To do all of that, you need solid management skills.
Here are some of the most critical management skills that today’s leaders need to adopt to be successful.
When you can effectively motivate your employees, you increase your value within your organization. But this doesn’t necessarily mean compelling them to do their jobs by force. Authentic motivation comes from having a leader that encourages optimum performance in a skillful, thoughtful, and professional way.
To motivate effectively, you also need to quickly spot employees’ strengths and areas for improvement. This information lets you collaborate with employees to set clear, achievable goals to benefit the organization, your team, and individual team members.
Of course, it’s essential to track and document progress — tangible, meaningful results encourage sustained motivation because it gives employees the confidence to know they can keep improving.
Everybody loves a “nice” boss, but most teams need access to managers who know how to solve problems. Critical thinking skills let you analyze current problems to uncover new solutions and to anticipate and prepare for future problems.
Managers can also employ critical thinking skills to identify the correct data to follow. In an increasingly noisy business world, the sheer volume of information can quickly become overwhelming. Understanding what’s relevant to your organization’s current and future success is essential to succeeding as a leader.
Managers constantly hear about how communication is one of the most critical managerial skills. Still, communication is a persistent problem in business organizations, from international corporations to independently owned small businesses.
Effective communication is an ongoing dialogue between managers and employees in which everyone feels heard and understood.
Active listening, empathy, and openness to divergent thinking are essential parts of effective communication. So are transparency and vulnerability. Communicating as a human to other humans can inspire your team to do their best work every day.
Ready to become the top leader you are meant to be? We have all the resources and tools you need. Come work with us.