This Year Demands a Different Type of Leadership From Entrepreneurs

Updated on 6 February 2019

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By: Anja van Beek: Agile Talent Specialist | Leadership Expert & Coach

There’s a lot of focus on leadership … and rightly so. It is true that team members don’t leave companies, they leave because of ‘bad’ managers/leaders. And I have witnessed this so many times.

How often do you do a check-in on what type of leader you are? Do you also encourage bottom-up feedback from your teams to ensure you are an empowering leader for them?

Change is scary… and people react differently to change. Some are “go with the flow-ers” and others may need a bit more reassurance for them to still do their best work in changing times.

Considering all of this, here’s 4 pointers to consider to kick-off your leadership in 2019:

1. Leadership Flexibility

A “one size fits all” approach is not working in the new world of work, especially when it comes to wanting an engaged workforce. In the latest Gallup survey, it highlights that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged, and one quarter of employees report that they are actively disengaged. These are alarming figures! Because of this, it is absolutely vital that leaders take a personal approach when engaging with their team – in my dealings as an HR director and on the leadership team, I have seen what a powerful impact the leaders had once they embraced a more personal approach.

Sometimes just by asking how it is going with Mike’s daughter in the new school would give you as the leader enough insight as to why he is a bit jumpier than usual. This will also show that you are (genuinely) interested in what happens to your team member after hours.

Through this, it also enables them to understand what makes them “tick” and how you can empower them on a different level.

Be the leader you wish you had

2. Little things that have a huge impact

How do you recognize and acknowledge your team for a job well done? An email with “well done” in it just isn’t good enough. This is not about the formal recognition programmes in your business. You need to consider a personal note (and more) if you want to step up your leadership style.

An easy activity to implement is a “recognition wall”. You can download some Kudo cards from the Management 3.0 website and provide an opportunity for colleagues to recognize one another. You could even enhance this by giving the team member on the wall an afternoon off. Try this for a month and see how this activity changes the vibe in your team.

3. Leaders as coaches

To truly empower your team, you need to stop giving them the solutions or pushing your ideas as the best way to do things. By adopting a coaching approach and asking the insightful questions, you will create an environment where the team members generate their own solutions. The role of a leader (as a coach) is to supply a supportive and discovery-based approach.

Be mindful of how you show up during meetings and conversation. Are you always unbiased or do you judge your teams’ behaviour and decisions? How do you support your team member’s developmental areas and still keeping them motivated?

Be careful how you portray your non-verbal cues as it could sense a mistrust even before they presented their solutions.

Does your team have the safety to have a candid and open conversation with you to share their (sometimes, brave) ideas?

4. Psychological safety and trust

The world is full of change – trust is one of the first aspects to be impacted when your words and actions don’t align. Consider if the gap between your action and words is causing your team to distrust you. Psychological safety is critical.

Does your team have the safety to have a candid and open conversation with you to share their (sometimes, brave) ideas? How do you act when they have made a mistake?

To encourage learning from a mistake your behaviour must reflect that – you need to provide a safe space for when things go wrong. This will also empower your teams to own their mistakes and learn from them.

Lastly, gratitude goes a long way. A simple thank you and a pat on the shoulder of acknowledgment is sometimes all that’s needed to make a team thrive! 2019 demand a different type of leader. Let’s get personal.

Be the leader you wish you had.

#EmpoweredTeams #Leadership #LeadWithoutATitle #PersonalisedLeadership

About the author: Anja van Beek Agile talent strategist, leadership consultant, mentor and coach with over 20 years of executive experience in the Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia region.

She has lead multi-national teams through transition and change management. Over the years she has become an expert in coaching leaders and teams in managing behavioral change in the ever-changing business landscape.

Her current focus is to consult executives and leaders from small businesses through to large organisations on all people-related aspects with a specific focus on integrating the talent of the business into the overall strategy. She also works for various companies as a facilitator in the area of leadership development, mentoring and change management.

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