A great leader influences, engages, motivates, and supports people to achieve their goals. It’s one of the most powerful roles within an organization. The way they lead, manage, and communicate with their teams strongly influences the culture and success of a business.
The way we work has evolved significantly over the past decade, with traditional authoritarian approaches to leadership becoming outdated in today’s work environment. Modern employees need modern leaders – ones that practice empathy, self-awareness, gratitude, and fairness within the workplace.
Leaders have the power to create a positive or negative impact on those around them. While some may have natural leadership traits, it is still incredibly important to equip your leaders with the right skills and tools to better support their teams and create positive influence throughout your organization.
Leaders Are The Ultimate Influencers Of Company Culture
Leaders play a significant role in fostering your company culture. Whether they realize it or not, their behaviors, interactions, beliefs, and values strongly influence how employees work and feel within the organization. The way they operate, communicate, and make decisions sets an example for how others within the business should interact with one another. Research from Gallup revealed that about 50-70% of employee’s perception of their work environment is linked to the actions and behaviors of their leaders.
It’s important to ask yourself, are your leaders contributing toward a positive work environment? Are their actions, work ethic, and leadership style helping you build a strong company culture? Do their teams feel supported and encouraged to grow, learn, and perform at their best? Are they positively impacting employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention?
These questions are critical to the success and productivity of your business. Leaders must understand the influence they hold within these areas of the business, and organizations must make intentional efforts to help develop their leaders.
A New Way Forward
According to Mckinsey, traditional leadership strategies were focused on providing technical expertise and maximizing value for shareholders. Leaders traditionally had three roles: planning – to develop strategy and provide actionable steps, directing – assigning people within their teams specific responsibilities, and controlling – ensuring people do what they have been assigned and plans are being followed.
This approach has reached its timely end. While it may focus on the deliverables of a business, this comes at a cost – the dissatisfaction, low engagement, and unhappiness of employees. Further research by McKinsey indicates that a more effective approach to leadership is emerging. One that is focused on “building agile, human-centered, and digitally enabled organizations that are able to thrive in today’s unprecedented environment and meets the needs of a broader range of stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, and communities, in addition to investors.)”
This new and modern approach is often described as ‘servant leadership’. While its name has garnered criticism, its concept is simple – leaders should switch their mindset from managing and controlling their employees, and instead be in service to them. This style of leadership offers a fresh perspective on the role of a leader, with SHRM highlighting that servant leadership puts more control into the hands of the employee by prioritizing their growth, well-being, and empowerment.
It [servant leadership] aims to foster an inclusive environment that enables everyone in the organization to thrive as their authentic self. Whereas traditional leadership focuses on the success of the company or organization, servant leadership puts employees first to grow the organization through their commitment and engagement. When implemented correctly, servant leadership can help foster trust, accountability, growth, and inclusion in the workplace. – SHRM
How Can Organizations Foster Great Leadership?
Modern leaders inspire their teams to strive for success and believe in their talents. They empower their people to accomplish their goals and advocate for employees to learn new skills, take part in development opportunities, and grow personally and professionally. However, these strategies are easier said than done. Leaders need to understand their role as facilitators of growth, and organizations must invest in leadership training and tools that will help them support employees to the best of their ability.
Forbes highlights the following keys for great leadership. These strategies are a double-edged sword of success as they help your current leaders become excellent managers and also prepares your next generation of leaders.
- Facilitate mentorships: Encouraging mentorships enables leaders to share their experience and insights with others, while also supporting employees to make meaningful connections across the business and gain insights from people in different roles and functions. According to Forbes, for leaders to become excellent mentors they must:
- Listen to employees
- Check-in with employees on a regular basis
- Allow employees to learn from their mistakes
- Dole out tasks
- Recognize accomplishments: Create a culture that values recognition and appreciation. Showing employees that you appreciate their efforts goes a long way in making them feel valued and respected for their contributions.
- Invest in employee learning and development: To truly unleash the potential of your workforce, investing in them is a must. It’s a win-win for everyone – employees are able to improve and expand their skill sets, leaders can support the development of their people, and the organization builds a highly skilled and adaptable workforce that is equipped for the future.
- Offer consistent and constructive feedback: Encourage two-way feedback to enable constant improvement and development. Leaders should identify areas of improvement and be able to communicate it to their teams in a constructive and helpful way. They must also encourage feedback from their employees for their own improvement to help them become better leaders.
- Build a positive work environment: According to Fuel50’s Ultimate Guide to Retention, organizations must put employees first by cultivating a human-centric culture. Organizations wanting to foster future leaders and retain talent must shift from traditional, fear-based work models to a more inclusive, and humanized work culture that prioritizes employee wellbeing, growth, purpose, and fulfilment.
Such strategies are enhanced by the right tools and technologies. Fuel50’s Talent Marketplace enables leaders to easily adopt these strategies, giving them visibility into their people’s skills, capabilities, and goals to facilitate meaningful career conversations, support their growth and development, and ultimately build highly skilled, engaged, and motivated teams. Equip your leaders with the tools to unlock the full potential of your workforce today.