Proven Strategies to Inspire Effective Leadership and Management

In Uncategorized by Roger Lewis

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It’s easy to conflate management and leadership, even though they are two very different experiences, each requiring its own unique skill set. “Manager” is a role of appointment, while “leader” is a role of selection.

The standard for managing can be met with tactical execution through others, while leadership raises the bar and focuses on the individuals and service of working with and through others, taking an interest in the uniqueness of each individual.

Leadership finds you naturally and demands growth and evolution but is difficult to curate inorganically or instill through title or rank. You may have witnessed managers assigning deadlines, scheduling meetings and making sure everyone produces deliverables on time. However, this may not be the same member of the team whose behaviour others model, from whom colleagues seek guidance and are influenced. This influencer is the de facto leader, silently selected by the team, despite the top-down appointment of a manager to drive the agenda.

Managing in the absence of leadership is, in most instances, a poor experience for everyone involved, with a low probability of effectiveness and success—so how can we ensure management and leadership commingle for better experiences and outcomes?

Invest in your team.

Leadership requires a great deal of investment in others. In some instances, people in positions of leadership distance themselves from their teams to maintain authority and objectivity, an approach that could be doing more harm than good. It’s difficult to lead if you don’t know who is following, so as a leader, commit to investing in your team as individuals, not as a monolithic group. Get to know them. What motivates and inspires each person? What are their ambitions? How do you, as a leader, provide challenges and opportunities for growth? How do you, as a servant leader, facilitate and activate the success factors that equip each individual to work at their highest level as part of a team?

For each team member, commit to understanding, “What does this person need to be successful?” and “How can I help them realise their potential?” If we fail to guide our teams based on their unique skills and circumstances, we ignore their individualities, losing diversity of thought and stifling growth and innovation.

Commit to constant evolution.

Harnessing your personal growth to the benefit of your effectiveness as a leader is an iterative process, requiring regular self-reflection and evolution.

Just as you invest in your team, so too must you invest in yourself. Take frequent stock of your performance, and under the bright lights of introspection, revisit your strengths and opportunities and make space for feedback—especially the themes that make you uncomfortable. Paint a picture of who you are as a leader. What qualities do you possess? What improvements would be most impactful to your effectiveness and how others experience you as a leader? Define your opportunities for improvement and take tangible action, even when it’s incremental versus radical. The objective is progress, not perfection.

In addition to open dialogue and feedback from the team members whose “followship” is the foundation of your leadership, a personal board of directors can be an invaluable asset to your leadership journey. People you trust who have insight into your evolution and ambition as an individual and leader can play a pivotal role in holding you accountable.

Love what you do.

You’ll find one of the many marks of success as a leader are the moments when everything comes full circle. You’ve invested in your team, you’ve committed to your own personal evolution and effectiveness and favorable outcomes are driven by supporting individuals in fulfilling their potential. When done right, the journey is fulfilling and self-perpetuating. As a leader, I’m working through and for others, committing to my own development, so I can support others in their growth and evolution.

Personal and professional growth are enablers of effective leadership but are subject to their own set of growing pains. When you encounter setbacks, remember that the only way out is through. Provide a safe space for team members to muddle through challenges while also clearing a path to guide them through to the other side. If we do so with empathy, understanding and trust, our teams will come out stronger and more united than ever before.

Leadership is an act of service.

Leadership is an act of service that thrives on authenticity, best suited for those who are passionate about the journey and energised by investing in others.

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