Aligning through leadership, the way leading should be. Becoming a wartime general during peacetime. Such a powerful statement, it translates to lead as if you are in a battle but lead your team as if it was peacetime. Mastering this concept is key, being on your toes at all times, making sure you are 2-3 steps ahead of the game in all your decisions, always keeping constant pressure on everyone, but keeping a peacetime demeanor.
Leadership all starts with getting your long term objective heard, that would be your company’s WHY. This is important, even if you are a company of 1 or a company of 1000, it all starts with that one person or domino to believe and share your WHY.
I want to share 4 action steps that you could do now to inspire your team with leadership, and get them aligned to the WHY of the company.
1. Your company’s vision needs to be articulated to the team consistently, this reminds them of the company’s values.
As leaders we cannot keep people from talking but we can control what they say about you. As a leader it is your sole responsibility that the culture is a positive one and one that people enjoy being a part of. Articulating the companies why every chance the opportunity rises is key, and how you say it is more important. I am not telling you to read off a script, you need to speak from the heart.
Empathy is a word that is thrown around often in today’s social climate but a great tool when speaking or reminding the team of the companies WHY.
Having tough empathy as a leader is important, and knowing the situation to use it in is key. For example, the team is coming up on a hard deadline on a project that has been worked on for months but it cannot be submitted because it lacks meat.
Exercise: Write down your company’s vision, where do you see your company going?
Tough empathy in this kind of situation is key, being able to tell the team that all the hours spent on the project were not efficient and resulted in a poor outcome but this is a learning experience and a great chance to look deep into the problem. Break down what went wrong and explain it to the the team. Assign problem solving solutions to the issues and circle back on it.
Showing that you care is important but as a leader with empathy it will come across stronger.
2. Bring your team in when making important decisions, you hired them so utilize them to grow the company. This gives empowerment to the team and it builds unity.
I’m a huge believer in communication, especially when creating changes to the company. This is a great chance to showcase your inspirational leadership. Some people might not want to incorporate the team when making the big decisions due to ego or they don’t want to look weak. A great way to set yourself apart in this situation would be your presence, a leader’s physical appearance is key, the walk, how they articulate themselves, clothing, grooming,etc. This is where you create that subtle separation, so when you are standing in front of your people the message is heard louder, the belief is stronger, and the culture grows.
Exercise: Write down 1-3 important decisions that are on the horizon?
3. One of the keys is to coach your employees, mentor them, build their self-esteem, it provides instant feedback and the employee is always looking to improve. This has a ripple effect on others, if they are going to talk about you let it be positive.
While in the Marines I was fortunate to learn from great leaders, a constant among them was the feedback I received when my actions where good or bad. It gave me a sense of belonging, that I was a part of something much greater. It made me feel that I was a key component of the overall mission. Taking those lessons with me post military have been a key to building strong teams that look out for each other and understand that working as a team is important to their individual success. As a servant leader I am always looking to mentor my team members and bestow my knowledge of life and business on to them and hopefully upgrade how they think. Hey if they get to good and one to move on, I did my job as a leader.
It is important to make a plan and set aside a budget for your company for the people that need this growth. Sometimes our star employee is waiting to be uncovered by a simple investment of time and appreciation.
Exercise: Write down names of people on your team that need empowerment coaching, mentoring, or need to build their self esteem.
4. At the end of the day, you have to recognize the team and individuals for their effort. This could come in a form of some type of rewards, a day off, early dismissal from work, or a simple thank you. Be creative with this part, the benefits for the team member and business are.
Exercise: Write down the names of individuals that have not received recognition for their consistent hard work and address them publicly.
The 4 aligning principles of leadership are important:
- Articulate the vision and why of the company consistently to the team.
- Bring in the team when making important company decisions, utilize them in an efficient manner.
- Coach your employees, mentor them, help improve their self esteem, this type of feedback is huge.
- Recognize the individuals that are going above and beyond, early dismissal from work, a day off, or verbal recognition.
As a leader, you need to align the individuals behind you, each person needs to be aligned in order to pull in the right direction.