Leadership is a verb—a continual process. The act of leadership is a skill that can be developed.
Leaders encourage everyone on their team to exercise their own voice and ideas, regardless of authority, title, or position. If you look at the best teams across industries, they share a common attribute— the best teams are teams of leaders. And that is what drives business results.
At Mogul we believe the best leaders understand that the way we want to lead may not always work for everyone, so nuance and adaptability are key.
There are many components of leadership as a verb, but these are the six strategies we feel are universal—regardless of industry or team size.
Lead yourself first
The first step to leadership is to first understand how you naturally lead. Are you an upbeat, outgoing leader who enjoys giving praise to keep morale high? Or are you a stoic leader who commands quality and believes praise is to be earned?
When consciously developing your leadership style, the goal should be to understand who you are and what makes you thrive. Once you understand your leadership preferences, you can correct the course as needed when speaking with individuals on your team.
Be curious about your team
The best leaders share a common characteristic—the insatiable curiosity for the people that help grow their business.
Taking a genuine interest in their staff allows them to understand what makes them tick. What do they enjoy doing while not on the clock? What are some of their personal goals outside of your organization?
Try to get to know your teammates as much as they are open to sharing. Understanding your team's motivations allows you to adapt and flex your approach toward those motivations to give your teammates work that will help them shine.
Maximize feedback to get the best results
If the goal of leadership is to make situations and people better, the tool you need is not criticism but constructive feedback. Feedback is a critical function for motivating your team and improving their results.
Feedback should be given through the framework of enhancing or changing behavior. If a member of a sales team soared past quarterly goals, don't just proclaim a job well done - highlight exactly what and how they did well.
Provide feedback that highlights the tact and expertise of their craft, so they feel empowered to continue the quality output.
If the team isn’t hitting the mark, provide direct and tangible examples of what they need to work on and what you're looking for—that way, there's no discrepancy in your messaging.
Address dysfunction head-on
Transparency is key. Every relationship thrives with transparency, so leave nothing unspoken.
Addressing workplace problems immediately and directly will show that you are committed to fostering a unified team.
Remember, your approach should be tailored to each individual. There's a fine line between direct and upfront, and rude. It's important to not make team members feel like they have to defend themselves. State the facts objectively and work together to resolve the issue.
Unresolved issues have long-term business consequences. So when an internal issue inevitably arises, address it and move on.
Communicate the why
Every business has an infinite number of things to do. It’s up to you to help your team prioritize.
You should be continually recalibrating your priorities and checking in on the focus of your team. What are they spending their time on, and what are the most important tasks today, this week, and this quarter?
If a team member doesn't have their priority right, that’s on us. It's our job as leaders to explain the project thoroughly and receive proper confirmation that they understand the deliverables.
When reviewing priorities, start by explaining what the long-term goals are, so they can connect the dots as to why they're doing what they're doing. As the team moves forward, constantly calibrate and recalibrate to ensure everyone's on the same page.
Practice makes perfect
Being the best leader for your team takes conscious intention and habitual practice.
As much as we are still responsible for business results, we are now more than ever also responsible for the mental and physical well-being of the people we employ - and rightfully so.
Have thoughts on what makes a great leader? Share your leadership best practices with the Mogul community to continue the conversation.