At FiredUp! Culture, we believe that leadership isn’t a state of being, but it is a journey. While there are many different types of leaders, very few people are born with all the abilities of a natural leader. Most of us need to learn, develop our skills, and improve on a daily basis. Leadership development involves identifying and mastering the key skills and characteristics required to become a successful leader.
What Makes a Good Leader?
When we talk about the skills needed to become a good leader, ultimately these skills boil down to:
- Building relationships
- Accomplishing things effectively
- Making team members feel as if they’re part of a greater purpose and vision.
Coaching provides leaders with support, allowing them to move closer and closer to these objectives. And, it works. Leadership development boosts employee engagement, increases an organization’s ability to navigate gaps in the talent pipeline, and reduces the headaches and costs associated with turnover.
Great leaders attract, hire, and inspire great people, because they create amazing teams that everyone wants to be a part of. Below are a few of the specific skills we focus on with our leaders.
Skill #1: Always start with communication
Communication is all about relationships and relationships are at the core of everything we do. Each conversation is a chance to send a message or learn something new. If you’re stuck or suffering from doubts, get out there and communicate. If you think you’ve communicated enough, then you probably need to have at least one more conversation.
There’s a lot of emphasis these days on transparency and inclusion. Ultimately, this means allowing your team members to be part of the conversation, to understand where you’re coming from, and to feel their concerns are being heard.
Communication is about more than the words you choose. Lean in, have a positive inflection to your voice, ask questions, and listen to the answers. When you focus on your communication skills, it has an enormous impact on the satisfaction and productivity of your team.
Skill #2: Have and show empathy
Becoming an expert communicator isn’t the only way to improve the quality of your relationships. If you’re to win the trust of your team, you must have and show empathy. And trust is key, because without it, you won’t be able to persuade or influence anyone, no matter how powerful your ideas are.
Your team members want to know that you care about them. They need to understand that their challenges and wins matter to you. To accomplish this, you have to put in the work to build relationships that are authentic, rather than transactional.
Skill #3: Keep an eye toward planning and delivery
There’s a system for everything, but leaders need to question whether those systems are operating correctly and accomplishing what they need to accomplish. When examining existing systems, ask yourself whether they are:
- Integral with your organization’s values
Otherwise, you can fall into ineffective patterns and struggle to find a way out. Effective leaders must be capable of questioning, tweaking, and overhauling to ensure systems serve the needs of the team, rather than the team serving the needs of systems.
Skill #4: Emphasize self-development
A workplace is dynamic when the people within it are all growing, improving, and exploring their interests. Coaching provides leaders with opportunities for growth, but they need to do the same for their teams. When team members have the option of building a career and not just doing a job, they’ll bring enthusiasm to their work environment and culture.
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group
Too often our society gets people into jobs, then tries to keep them there. Your team members want to be challenged and they want opportunities to grow.
Step #5: Keep innovating
If you keep doing things exactly the same way you’ve always done them, you are drifting downward in a state of decline. Our lives are filled with examples of businesses that didn’t innovate and suffered the consequences, including JCPenney, Sears, and Kmart. The organizations that survive and grow are the ones that adapt and are open to new ideas.
When you consider innovation, perhaps you imagine one big, earth-shattering decision that changes everything. While that can be the case, it’s more helpful to cultivate a mindset where innovation is welcome and encouraged on a daily basis.
What would it look like if you decided to have your team meet for 20 minutes each week to share something positive that one member accomplished? It’s a small change but also a relational innovation with the power to alter the way people think about their work.
How FiredUp! Helps Leaders Develop These Skills
The leaders we work with at FiredUp! Culture aren’t bad at what they do and typically they’re in possession of many great skills. Sometimes they’ve come to a place where they know the systems they work within aren’t meshing and there’s too much friction in their organizations, preventing them from effectively performing their roles. What we do is help them push beyond the friction by really getting down to these core principles.
And it works! Leadership development can create a tailwind that provides momentum and support for navigating all kinds of challenges. When leaders are FiredUp!, their teams are more satisfied and their organizations experience better overall performance, including higher levels of customer satisfaction, organizational productivity, financial gains, and product quality.
Learn how to develop the skills required to lead effectively in today’s digital, global world. Let’s talk!
Author, Speaker, and Change Agent.
Chris leads a dynamic team of passionate change agents who are dedicated to partnering with organizational executives to create cultures that inspire, engage and ignite the best in people. Our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams and align operation practices to delighting the customer and drive breakthrough results.