Great leaders aren’t born, they’re made. While it’s tempting to look at stories of great leaders and just assume they’re received some divine or genetic gift that turned them into exemplars, the truth is much more nuanced. Leadership is a skill that can be honed and improved with practice and the right guidance. This article will explore three key habits that can significantly enhance your leadership skills: creating clarity, establishing safety, and speaking purpose. These habits are not just theoretical concepts but are based on well-researched findings on what constitutes a high-performing team culture.
Creating clarity involves setting clear goals, milestones, and expectations for the team. This is crucial in a world where teams often operate in an unclear and volatile environment. Establishing safety, on the other hand, means creating a climate where team members feel comfortable taking interpersonal risks, such as disagreeing or sharing ideas. Finally, speaking purpose involves regularly communicating the importance of the team’s work and how it benefits others. This is not just about performance objectives or bonuses but about connecting the team’s work to a greater good.
Let’s take a deeper look at all three.
In a world where teams often operate in an unclear and volatile environment, providing clarity is a vital leadership skill. This involves setting clear goals and milestones that the team can work towards. It’s not just about setting a big goal, but also about breaking it down into manageable milestones that the team can achieve.
Moreover, creating clarity also involves ensuring that individual roles and expectations are clear. Each team member should know what is expected of them and how their role contributes to the overall goal. This not only helps in avoiding confusion but also ensures that everyone is on the same page, working towards the same objective.
Establishing safety in a team is about creating a climate where team members feel comfortable taking interpersonal risks, such as disagreeing or sharing ideas. This leadership skill results in teamwide psychological safety. When team members feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to share their ideas, disagree constructively, and contribute to the team’s success.
Leaders play a crucial role in establishing this safety. They can do this by modeling active listening and asking questions when disagreeing, rather than dismissing ideas outright. Furthermore, leaders should enforce respectful behavior and teach team members how to respect each other. This creates a culture of mutual respect and trust, which is essential for a team’s success.
Speaking purpose is about regularly communicating the importance of the team’s work and how it benefits others. This leadership skill goes beyond just focusing on performance objectives or bonuses. Leaders should speak to the individual about the meaningful contribution of their work and how it connects to a larger purpose.
By connecting the team’s work to a greater good or benefit for others, leaders can inspire and motivate their team members. This focus on pro-social purpose can drive engagement and commitment, leading to better performance and a more positive team culture.
None of these skills come from genetics, they’re learned. Leaders can significantly improve their leadership skills by focusing on creating clarity, establishing safety, and speaking purpose. These habits are not just theoretical concepts but are based on well-researched findings on what constitutes an outstanding team culture. By focusing on these three areas, leaders can create an environment where everyone can do their best work ever.
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