The most effective leaders, with or without authority, improve engagement, productivity, retention and profitability by creating an environment where people thrive individually and collectively, personally and professionally.
They begin with a vision, whether the vision of the organization, the team or the leader. Those visions needn’t be the same, but they must be compatible, not contradictory. The leader’s vision must serve, directly or indirectly, the goals of the organization. Visionary leaders then talk about their vision, in order to inspire others, to get others ‘on board,’ so to speak. Finally, they must walk their talk. If leaders’ actions are inconsistent with their words, people will believe their actions. Be certain your actions support your words and both support your vision.
Effective leaders often incorporate coaching in their leadership style. That means they help people achieve their own goals and aspirations while simultaneously fulfilling the needs of the job and the organization. Authority isn’t necessary to help peers achieve their personal and professional goals. See Keith Ferrazzi’s Leading Without Authority to learn about rising up together. He describes how people can support each other to achieve greater success and advance their careers together.
Be present! Be present in the moment and be available to your team. It’s often said of successful leaders that when you’re with them, they’re fully present with you. They’re not thinking about other people or other demands. They’re thinking about you and paying attention to the conversation you’re having in the moment. These are people with multiple demands at all times, so it isn’t easy. It takes practice, but the benefits of effective leadership are well worth the time it takes to learn how to be present in the moment.
Have fun! You can have fun while doing serious work. Many or most employers have resumed some social activities post-pandemic, resulting in renewed connections and engagement. Having fun doesn’t require dedicated time, however. Casual comments and laughter lighten the daily workload, help people connect with their teams and engage in their work.
Vision, coaching, presence and fun all help energize the workplace, leading to increased engagement, productivity, retention and profitability.