Aakriti Agarwal is Director, Customer Marketing – Numly™, Inc. The views expressed are her own.
How can we build better teams? Right hiring, skill development, training sessions, fancy parties, and offsite meetings are some of the popular strategies that organizations use to achieve this goal. Yes, all these aspects play into building good teams. But we cannot ignore that great leader build great teams.
Take a look at any of the successful organizations across the globe. They will all have a common denominator-that of great leaders. And who are organization leaders? Not just the C-suite. It is the army of managers and team leads who form the crux. They are the ones in touch with the ground level. They can influence change and drive organizational productivity because they are the ones closest to those doing the job!
With change and disruption being a resonant theme, the age-old style of leadership that thrives on command and control is no longer relevant. Leading by fear or intimidation, directional leadership and physical and emotional distance between leaders and their teams need replacement.
The changing dynamics of leadership
Evolution and continuous change are resonating themes of today’s world. As millennials and Gen Z become the dominant workforce, leadership styles have to evolve to accommodate the new viewpoints and demands of the workforce.
The motivation and dynamics in the workplace have undergone a sea of change.
- Trends like the Great Resignation prove that employees are now looking at things beyond financial motivators.
- Aspects such as DEIB, fairness, trust, and shared purpose are drivers of employee engagement and good business outcomes.
- The rise of hybrid work demands change in leadership dynamics to ensure that the organizational culture remains consistent.
Today, leaders are expected to build a cohesive organizational culture. For this, leadership must build trust bridges, equity, and belonging and prevent the rise of two organizational cultures – one that applies to the in-premise workforce and the other for the remote workers.
Effective leadership has emerged as the most critical factor that defines organizational success. In times where change and disruption are constant, building better leaders translates into better teams.
Better leaders make better teams.
Leadership is no longer only about top-down policy making. Today, leadership is about delivering enablement at work, where work happens, and when it happens.
Leadership is more about attitudes and behaviors and demonstrating the set of actions that promote forward movement – both at the individual employee level and a business level.
Imagine a leader, let’s call her Masha. Marsha’s team is fiercely loyal to her and holds her in high respect. They are a bunch of high-performing individuals motivated to achieve success for themselves and their teams.
What is it that Marsha could be doing to get positive results?
- To begin with, Marsha could be a more authentic leader who is capable of identifying challenges and possible solutions.
- She could be a leader who is more empathetic towards her team.
- The respect she enjoys could be a direct result of her style of authentic servant-leadership and non-judgmental, authentic approach.
- Her empathy and willingness to walk the talk to demonstrate standards that she expects, along with the other traits, make her an inspirational leader. And inspirational leaders enthuse others to emulate positive actions.
By building better leaders organizations can build better teams. This is because impactful leaders:
- Influence to drive change
Good leaders have influence. With this influence, they produce results and create change. Such leaders take a non-judgmental approach and focus on leading by example. They, much like Marsha, do not mind getting down into the trenches and inspiring and influencing people to perform at heights they never previously imagined.
- Leverage trust to drive performance
Leadership trust drives high-performance teams. Trust is a currency that builds human connection and provides a foundation for stability, growth, and meaning. Workplace trust is a shared belief. When leaders are compassionate, empathetic, capable, and non-judgmental, employees are convinced that all actions are taken in their best interest. High trust levels increase career satisfaction and lead to higher productivity.
High-trust leaders demonstrate enhanced levels of self-awareness, empathy, and understanding. They assess their decisions to remove biases, embrace learning opportunities, and lead with honesty and authenticity. All these actions contribute to higher engagement levels. It also allows the leaders to create and maintain positive, reciprocal team relationships.
- Drive empowerment through meaningful participation
Authentic and empathetic leaders deeply engage with the workforce and empower them with meaningful participation. Such leaders can identify employee pain points and barriers to success with ease. They help individuals and teams comfortably open up to them with their challenges. Taking a consultative leadership approach allows teams and individuals to feel more invested in the tasks and authentic leadership inspires participation and action.
- Use a coaching mindset to achieve goals
Good leaders are almost always coaching leaders. They coach their teams for success by identifying challenges, developing career and growth opportunities, and helping their teams develop action plans to reach their goals.
A coaching leader is an active listener who can hear the spoken and unspoken challenges of their team members. Through active listening and intuitive questioning, they help team members create actionable plans that promote forward movement.
Leadership in today’s world is all about inspiring action by helping others see and believe in a vision and work towards a common goal.
Good leadership drives creativity and innovation and encourages people to use their personal strengths to reach desired outcomes.
Good leaders provide certainty and calm in the face of chaos and turbulence. They create positive solutions and capably drive consistent high performance by keeping their teams highly engaged and motivated.
In today’s world of VUCA, developing better leaders has become a prerogative to embed high-performance, empathy, trust, collaboration, and innovation into the organizational DNA. Good leaders can inspire and create conditions conducive to getting more out of people and achieving powerful outcomes.
Start a 60-day pilot of NumlyEngage™ to help your leaders develop the people management skills relevant to today’s world and build powerful, high-performing teams.