Nov 26 2016 | Tags: Emotional Intelligence
Developing Effective Leadership Skills
Having a happier, more productive workplace starts from the top. When you’re looking forward to spending a day at work, it stands to reason that your whole team will find it easier to share your enthusiasm and make work a key part of their life, not just a necessary task to complete. But how can you pass along your leadership while fostering a healthy, motivated environment?
There are many schools of thought on how to develop effective leadership skills, but most agree that enhancing the quality of life of your team means motivated, long-term colleagues who give back in kind. We believe that being in touch with the needs of you and of everyone in your team can reap countless benefits.
Embrace The Individual
Whatever your business, each member of your team is an individual with their own particular motivations and skill sets. So why would we treat them as a monolith? Truly effective businesses embrace the personal and give each person their own opportunities to thrive.
In each facet of leadership, from face to face interactions to broad decision making and beyond, aim to make decisions on a person by person basis. Knowledge of your staff, in all their varied strengths and areas in need of improvement, lets you maximise their trust in you and thus, yours in them when personal investment grows.
Lead By Example
What makes a better boss than one who mucks in when the going gets tough? Your role as the head of a team may have more facets than many of your employees can see day to day, but image is everything in assuring them that you’re expending the same effort they do. During busy times, demonstrate your participation in the collective effort as a gesture of solidarity.
Leading by example isn’t just about knuckling down to. When it comes to attitudes to difficulty, yours is the lead that the team will follow, so let your emotional responses to situations set the tone. An upbeat, optimistic office is one with a happy helm.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Just as you lead by example in the working process, it’s important to consider yourself a part of the collective when things go wrong, not as a separate entity who’s job is to mete out disapproval. With the perks of being a leader comes the responsibility to be the first to fall on the sword when mistakes are made. That’s not to say people shouldn’t be disciplined for negligence, but consider the intent behind anyone’s failings. Is there a way you can bolster someone’s skill set or help them learn from a mistake? Take the moment where things go wrong to better your leadership and their own skills at the same time, treating it as a moment where an area of needed improvement has been identified. Then go on to fix it, making a momentary negative into a long-term gain.
Stay True To Your Values
A great company that others can’t wait to work with is one with a strong sense of self. So what are your values, and how can they become those of your business? A great way to clarify your core values is to source them from the team you already have – often your colleagues know you and your company even better than you do.
Hold a roundtable and find out how your team collectively define the pros and cons of the business. What does it mean to them to work well where they are? Then commit these to writing and endeavour to bring those cons up to scratch with the pros. Setting out key values can also serve as a catalyst for improvement, and an internal checklist for decision making going forward.
Foster Emotional Intelligence
Incorporating emotional intelligence into your own life as a leader, and as a result of your leadership processes can vastly improve the ability of those around you to find their strengths, grow and empower others in the process. Becoming aware of the feelings of your team helps you to improve your relationships with each individual – something we’ve already noted is a key skill in maximising the effectiveness of your leadership.
A great way to make inroads into finding emotional intelligence at work and developing leadership skills is to practice mindfulness in all you do. But what are the techniques to use to remember mindfulness in your everyday processes? Try these six tips to begin the process and get the ball rolling.
1. Start Right
Begin each day with a conscious effort to be more mindful. That means you’re giving yourself permission to take things more slowly, more deliberately and with more opportunities to consciously assess the day’s events. A determined effort to go through the day without rushing or fretting is the first footing for a better mood.
2. Make A Note
Finding out our stressors before they negatively affect us can help us avoid them in the future. Each time you feel negatively affected by an emotion, note it down. Return to it when the moment has passed and examine – is this a side effect of life that can’t be controlled right now or is it a work based wrinkle that can be better handled, or avoided in future?
3. Take A Breath
Literally and figuratively, a moment to breathe can do remarkable things. Whether it’s a deep breath that helps you collect yourself in times of stress, or allowing yourself the thinking time to find the most creative and innovative solution to a day’s problem, slowing down and taking stock is essential for healthier processes.
4. Ditch Distractions
We’re all guilty of allowing ourselves to be over stimulated – the radio is blaring, while emails ping and mobile phones buzz over and over again. Let yourself complete important tasks one at a time, unfettered by distraction. Deliberately visit emails and phones at regular, set times instead of reaching for them every 5 minutes and switching focus away from where it’s best used.
5. Show Appreciation
No matter the size of a gesture, often we can miss how many times people help us throughout the day. From a door held open to a deadline met, remember to take stock of your gratitude and share it aloud. A little part of why you’re thanking a colleague can even be selfish without guilt, as feeling supported bolsters your enthusiasm just as much as theirs.
6. Let Things Go
When you’re taking the time to breathe in calm, it’s just as important to breathe out the stresses we can’t control. Every day comes with challenges that can’t quite be met in the way we’d most like, and these are the struggles many of us repeat in our heads over and over. Learning to accept that not everything is in our control, and then letting it go, helps to refocus the mind on that which we can improve, and move on.
Sometimes the old clichés hold weight, and “healthy body, healthy mind” is one that’s stuck around for a reason. A small gesture you can make towards your team is taking care of their everyday health. Consider giving staff members easy access to chilled water and fresh fruits, letting them reach for something refreshing instead of the heavy baked goods that sometimes stock our offices.
But wellness is about so much more than physical health. Improving the overall happiness of each individual is the goal, and that includes mental health. Try to foster an attitude of openness and understanding, letting those who may find some days harder than others know that yours is a team who can help them get back on their feet.
Whatever your leadership style, whatever your team’s overall goals, there’s one thing that is needed from everyone – motivation. Keep your eyes on what exactly you set out to achieve and you’ll keep moving in the right direction. Let goals that are met never go uncelebrated, and move forwards to the next exciting destination.