Leading teams is never a one-time event — it is every day, 365 days a year. It has remained a challenging but fulfilling task for directors, department heads and managers when done successfully.
Great leaders also adopt strategies to lead, communicate and motivate their teams. It is the combination of both that makes them successful.
I would like to share with you three great strategies to lead your team to success:
Lead more, manage less
To achieve leadership success, directors, department heads and managers need to lead more and manage less.
Managers and leaders think and act differently. Managers in general like to think incrementally and solve work problems systematically. Their priority is to get employees to complete their work well, preferably before the stipulated deadlines.
On the other hand, leaders tend to think more unconventionally and explore “out of the box” options to solve work issues.
The main focus of leaders is people — their personal development and well-being. To them, people are equally important to the work results.
It is imperative that superiors lead more and manage less if they want their teams to do better, instead of micro-managing their employees and scrutinising their every action.
Employees should be taught what to do so over a period of time, they will have mastered the necessary skills and then deliver better outcomes.
At the same time, they will also grow to be confident and independent team players. If they encounter any problems or difficulties they are unable to handle, they will find their immediate superiors easy to approach for advice and help.
The yin and yang of leadership
Increasingly, more women managers are taking on leadership roles at the workplace. Leaders can adopt typically feminine (yin) traits such as focusing on the details and showing care and concern for employees, besides acquiring traits that are traditionally perceived as “masculine” (yang), such as seeing the big picture and enforcing discipline.
It is important for managers and supervisors to learn and be both the yin (caring for staff) and yang (pushing for work results and instilling discipline) at the workplace. A fine balance between them is required for leadership success.
Power up your team's performance
Here are three little secrets to power up your employees’ work performance:
Acknowledge, praise and reward great performance: It has been observed that Asian directors and managers are not generous in lavishing praise and compliments when employees have done well.
A few supervisors even take great work as a given, and believe mistakes are unforgivable and never to be forgotten.
Rid yourself of such notions. Instead, be generous and acknowledge your employees’ contributions, give praise and reward them accordingly for great work performance.
Conduct fair and constructive performance appraisal discussions: Setting shared key performance indicators (KPI) and using them consistently throughout the assessment period is fair to both managers (appraisers) and employees (appraisees).
Managers should measure the performance of employees against the stated KPIs and avoid making any last-minute changes. They could also share constructive feedback with their employees, especially on how to deliver better performance in the future.
Do not accept mediocre performance: If you accept mediocre work from your employees, they will think it acceptable to continue to deliver work of a poor standard.
Raise the bar and reject work that does not meet your expectations, so your employees are aware they need to deliver better performance as part of your team.
Great leadership remains a continuous process to be fine-tuned over days, weeks, months and even years. I strongly encourage you to learn and apply these three strategies to lead your team more successfully.