Leadership is a combination of inherited and acquired characteristics. Even if your genes didn’t make you a ‘natural’ leader you can certainly learn a lot about leadership if you’re called upon to lead.
Natural leaders stand out – they’re easy to identify. Identifying those that have the potential to become leaders is a much harder process but it’s what every business owner has to do when looking for team members to promote into supervisory or management positions.
It is important to recognize the natural leaders in your company as well as those who could become great company leaders if they had a little training. People naturally follow someone. This is evident through many things in life from the stock market to fashion. You want to make sure your employees are following the right people. Make sure you don’t focus so much on the appearance of leadership that you miss the true leaders in your company. These are some qualities to look for in finding a good leader. Remember that every company and situation may be different, but the following qualities are generally adaptable to many situations.
Strategic thinkers question the status quo. They challenge their own and others’ assumptions and encourage divergent points of view. Only after careful reflection and examination of a problem through many lenses do they take decisive action. This requires patience, courage, and an open mind.
4 Keys to promote a culture of strategic thinking are:
1. Allocate mentors – Mentors should be assigned to each new employee during on-boarding. Mentors help with training, accountability and growing within the position. Existing employees can be paired with colleagues who have more experience. Every manager should have a mentor at the executive level. The goal of every mentor is to help mentees at all levels grow in their respective positions.
2. Encourage solutions – When problems arise, encourage managers and team members to devise a long-term solution, rather than merely reacting to the immediate problem.
3. Inspire forward thinking – Encourage team members to consider how a proposed solution to any given problem serves the organization’s goals and how it will impact those goals.
4. When everyone in the organization is aware of current market and industry trends, customers, competitors and goals, it promotes unity. A unified organization is one in which everyone works together toward common goals.
Nurturing a culture of strategic thinkers takes advantage of the shared education and experience of everyone in your organization. It also helps bring natural leaders to the forefront, whose skills can then be utilized to a greater extent within the organization.
It takes great leadership to build great teams. Leaders who are not afraid to course correct, make the difficult decisions and establish standards of performance that are constantly being met – and improving at all times. Whether in the workplace, professional sports, or your local community, team building requires a keen understanding of people, their strengths and what gets them excited to work with others.
Team building requires the management of egos and their constant demands for attention and recognition – not always warranted. Team building is both an art and a science and the leader who can consistently build high performance teams is worth their weight in gold.
Highly motivated employees tend to share four key traits.
– Accurate Perception – A quality team of professionals must have the ability to accurately perceive what is happening. The group needs to be able to identify issues, assess what is working and what is not and be truthful enough to state when mistakes are made. Clear heads and reasonableness are mandatory in this situation.
– Conversation – The willingness of all team members to communicate ideas and issues is important to the overall success of any project. Conversations must take place in which everyone listens to the speaker and feels free to respond in turn. Team members should approach all conversations with respect, trust and honesty.
– Innovative Thinking – Another trait of an accomplished work team is innovative thinking. Members should be adept at brainstorming ideas and willing to transform old beliefs and routine processes. Creative thinking involves risk, so you and your employees must demonstrate courage to thrive.
– Strong Work Ethic – A work team that persists through rough patches to get the job done is the type of group you want to work with. A strong work ethic demonstrated by each individual ensures projects are done well and on time. Choose your employees wisely with respect to how willing they give their all to their job.
A group of highly motivated employees working together does not guarantee a successful team. There are three important ingredients to all successful teams.
1. A big challenge: The fun is in the chase. That mightn’t be true in the context of courtship, but it’s certainly true of work. When people face big, hairy and audacious goals, searching for solutions becomes exciting, even obsessive. Google’s mission statement is bold but simple: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible, and useful.” It has done well by chasing that incredibly bold goal.
2. People with a passion to perform: It’s fun to watch a group that is brainstorming. The excitement and restlessness in people who are trying to find solutions to vexing problems is priceless, that can’t be replaced by expertise or experience. People fuel incredible energy, as teams go all out to find solutions. They spare little thought for the rewards; they’re absorbed in overcoming the challenges they face.
3. Space to excel: The third crucial element is the space to innovate, to be able to make mistakes and start over. As children, we may have heard the fable about the spider that successfully climbed a wall by morning after falling to the ground all night long. We are all spider-people in that sense — ordinary people with extraordinary powers to succeed. A team leader who can provide the right amount of room for experimentation can ignite the power of passion and generate miraculous results.
Taking a group of highly motivated employees and placing them in a successful team dynamic will increase productivity, innovation and morale. Work on leadership development, develop a roadmap and increase your transparency to explode the productivity of YOUR teams!