We are working our way through the list of 21 qualities that leaders must possess to lead during this time of complexity. The 21 qualities showcased in my new book, Healing Leadership: How to Lead, Love, and Thrive in Business and Life,
I already covered the first two qualities: healing leaders are great communicators, including being great listeners and empathetic and highly emotionally intelligent.
The third quality of leaders required to continue to support our teams, develop that unique edge, and lead during these difficult times is the ability to value and empower your team.
For some of you, these articles serve as reminders or a review of what you already know. For others, this may be the first time that you are exceptionally self-aware about what these qualities actually mean and how to apply them in the workplace.
It's essential to be mindful about where you are on your leadership journey and your leadership style to adjust your style based on the people on your team whom you serve.
What does it mean to value and empower your team?
When everybody is in a different situation, and we don't know what they're going through, you value and empower your team when you recognize their strengths and weaknesses and make an intentional effort to listen to their input and listen to their opinions.
How can we accomplish that? Read on.
Ask Empowering Questions
Some leaders believe that they must have all the answers. Empowering leaders understand that they don't have all the answers. They surround themselves with qualified people who are subject matter experts in their respective areas.
When you value your team, you ask them empowering questions. And those typically start with "what" or "how."
When you go into a meeting, ask them empowering questions about the topics on the agenda. Perhaps there is a specific issue you're trying to solve, or you are in the process of doing a root cause analysis. Maybe you are in innovation mode and coming up with ideas and brainstorming. No matter what the scenario may be, there's potential to ask empowering questions and elicit team members' unique perspectives. For example:
What do you think about this particular issue?
What is your perspective?
What is your understanding of the problem?
What is the potential solution from your viewpoint?
These are ways in which we value and empower our teams to give us their best and show us what they know. If you are a seasoned leader, you know that when you enlist your team to brainstorm ideas and solutions to problems, you generate a better outcome when you are inclusive of the team's input.
Appreciate Your Team
Empowering your team involves showing them appreciation. There's a distinction between appreciating somebody and recognizing someone.
Recognition implies there's a reward. Typically, the reward entails a bonus, prize, something of that nature. Appreciation, however, is absolutely free. You can appreciate your team up, down, and sideways all day long, and it won't cost you a dime, but it will go a very long way. You'll earn a high ROI when you appreciate your team.
Appreciation looks like this: mentioning the things they did well in a meeting, event, or situation. It's saying thank you for doing X., even though they're getting paid to do X. It lets them know you are paying attention and you are there to support them along the way.
Provide Feedback Regularly
When you give your team feedback, it's another approach to value and empower them.
If your team is not exactly doing what you want them to do, give them constructive feedback. Consider using the "sandwich" framework to provide feedback. Start with appreciation, then share the constructive feedback, and close with gratitude, optimism. For example:
"What I respect (or appreciate) about you is X, Y, Z."
"As you develop, one way to reach a successful outcome in this particular area is to consider XYZ."
"I'm excited about this project and look forward to seeing you leverage your XYZ skills to take us across the finish line."
When you use the "sandwich" framework, team members are less likely to receive your feedback as "criticism" or one-sided. Instead, based on what you stated, the team will glean concrete direction to grow, balanced with your appreciation for what they are doing well.
Bringing It All Together
Asking your team empowering questions, appreciating them, and providing feedback are three straightforward strategies to help your team grow.
First, include their voices and opinions. Engage them with empowering, open-ended, non-judgmental questions. Let them know their opinions matter and then make a decision that takes their input into account.
Show your team that you value and appreciate them. At any time, showing team members an appreciation for their skills and contributions will increase their confidence and benefit your company culture. As valued members, your talent will be more willing to leverage their strengths, work hard and engage with you and the company's mission.
Don't be shy with the feedback. Using a "sandwich" framework softens the blow and makes you a more balanced and fairer leader.
As leaders, it always starts with us. Observe how you're doing in these three areas and take the necessary steps to strengthen your ability to ask empowering questions, show your appreciation, and provide feedback.
You can reach us at www.callwithginny.com to set up a complimentary strategy session and explore how our programs can help you rise to your full leadership potential.
In the meantime, be fearless! (act despite the fear)
Coach Ginny 💕
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About Dr. Ginny A. Baro
Dr. Ginny A. Baro is a sought-after international motivational speaker & leadership coach, a career strategist, and #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work.
Ginny specializes in partnering with organization to develop leadership teams at all levels of management. And she supports individuals navigating a corporate hierarchy or moving into an entirely new phase of their career. She has successfully facilitated live and virtual leadership training and coaching programs for individuals and Fortune 500 companies with over 140,000 employees and delivered keynotes impacting international audiences larger than 7,000. To learn more, visit ExecutiveBound.
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