Leadership is not easy. If leadership was easy then employees would never leave companies because they would be so in love with their company culture, their manager, and the work they are doing. There wouldn’t be any market leaders because everyone would be coming up with the best ideas and getting the most out of their workforce. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Prominent businesses decline due to missteps by leaders, poor workplace culture, and the mishandling of any business’s top asset: its human capital. Human capital means the people that create the product, handle customers, ensure quality, and come up with the ideas that position the company to be a future market leader.
Here are four of the practices that we see top leaders implement in their workplaces.
The power of questions
Questions are a great way of finding out more information about a topic. It is rare we are given as much information as we need to be successful as a leader, so we must fill in the gaps by asking the right questions. In fact, Jeff Bezos once said that being able to ask the right questions and solve the right problems for their customers is the most important thing a business can do to be successful.
Questions can also be used to help those individuals you manage realize that they may be missing something important. Asking the team members questions, instead of telling them what they think, builds their problem-solving skills and teaches them how to better think through solutions in the future.
Shifting ego to the collective
Individual egos kill. They disenfranchise good team members and make them alienated or angry. It destroys inter-team cooperation and collaboration. As a leader, it is okay for your people to have pride in themselves and the work they do (in fact, it’s highly desirable!). But what you don’t want is for that pride to cross the line and become ego. That overconfidence eats away at the very thing you want most out of your teams: for them to be united around solving problems for the company.
Understanding deficiencies through awareness
Who are you? What are you good at and what skills should you seek out for your team so that you all are well rounded. Creating a team that can solve any problem begins with understanding who the leader is, how that leader can best lead, and who needs to be at their side.
Leading who you have
We’ve all heard the saying “trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.” It sounds obvious and silly, however, many leaders try to do just that. They try to force their people who have unique personalities and skillsets into doing what they want them to do. Often, those tasks do not account for who that person is and what they are good at. They are then asked to uphold the same efficiency and proficiency as someone whose natural skills encompass that project.
First, find out who you have. Whether by talking to them or through personality tests, get an understanding of what they like, love, and are good at doing. Then shift the team around according to who would be happiest, and best, at each task. You will find you gain increased productivity and team morale.
At Wickham James, we help advise leaders and companies as they solve hard problems. For more information on what we do, contact the Wickham James team.