Effective leadership is not easy. A good part of effective leadership is communication. Although most leaders believe that they communicate well, and while this may be true, it is often too rare and for an audience that is too small and too exclusive. Leading your team means tirelessly providing answers to the eight big questions that successful leaders must answer for the people they care for.
Where are you taking us?
You could think of this question for leadership in another way. You might ask yourself, "Who are we becoming?" In the countless books and articles on leadership, you will find very long lists of attributes, skills and tasks, all of which are essential to success. . Everyone offers some truth about leadership. While this is true, the one thing all leaders must do is lead.
It is your job as a leader to inform your teams where you are leading them. While growth is essential, it is not the most inspiring destination. Whatever your leadership style, if you want your employees to follow your example, give them a clear vision of your direction and a goal that is worth pursuing. This is part of effective leadership.
Why are we following this path?
If you answered this question with a variation in increased shareholder value (leadership blast leadership version), you did nothing to increase your team's commitment or enthusiasm for your goals and your mission. Few people are excited to make more money for institutional investors.
Of course, you have a reason to follow the path you have chosen, but to create membership, you must explain it to your leaders when they have questions about leadership. Is it to reach your full potential? Or do you want to capture the number one position in your industry or market?
What do you expect from me?
The Gallup on the State of the American Workplace provides data that proves shockingly low engagement figures. Up to seven in ten workers are not working or are actively disengaged. Part of this lack of commitment comes from the fact that your team members don't know what you want from them, the very question of the Gallup poll.
You may think your teams know what you want from them, but the reality for most employees is that their lack of commitment stems from the lack of commitment from their manager and leader. In effective leadership, you go first. You interact with your employees. Start by telling them what you need and why you need it.
What will be different now?
Leadership is always a matter of transformation. Even if the only thing you need is better execution, it requires changes. As much as it is crucial that you engage hearts and minds, by activating the initiative and ingenuity of your team, you must give them a clear idea of what needs to change, what will be different now.
By failing to clarify the new findings needed, you risk your goal and mission at worst, or take much longer to get there at best. You need to clarify what needs to be different.
How important is my contribution?
If you want hearts and minds, you have to answer the question of how important their contribution is to reaching your destination. They need to know where you are leading them. Each person is an integral part of the mission and is necessary for success. Not everyone knows it and some people don't believe it. You must tell them why and how their contribution is important.
People will believe their contribution is important when you tell them enough times, and when you recognize and express your gratitude for their efforts. The more frequent and public the recognition, the more it is accepted as truth. Recognition is essential to effective leadership.
How are we going to succeed?
Not everyone will understand the decisions you make and will not understand the strategy you have chosen to reach your destination. Many will wonder how you will succeed, which is especially true when you go on a new course.
The questions about how you will be successful are just. Your team deserves to understand how and why your strategy will move you forward. Many leaders make the mistake of not talking about how they intend to win in the market. They can only share it with a few in leadership and management.
It is a mistake not to give everyone the answer to this question. Effective leadership tells the story as often as possible and to everyone.
How are we going to overcome our obstacles?
It never pays to ignore obstacles in your path or avoid questions about the challenges that you are sure to encounter along your chosen path. You – and your management team – owe your teams a solid response and direction on how they will overcome challenges and produce the result you expect.
Effective leadership helps to remove the barriers that prevent their teams from achieving the results they need. Sometimes it means facing challenges directly, and other times it requires time, attention, and money. Leaving problems unanswered makes your success more and more difficult.
You don't have to wait for your teams to ask you these questions. Instead, you proactively integrate them into every conversation, every communication, and every broadcast. It is impossible to over-communicate and under-communicate easily. When you answer these questions frequently enough, you are converting.
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