Engaged leaders are recognizable. They look different, act different, get different results. Great leaders are able to focus their attention on the problem at hand without being distracted. Even when a leader is extremely busy, he needs to make sure that he is participating in the process with team members and not giving orders from the sideline.Supporting an engaging leader’s behaviors are a powerful set of beliefs. They feel it is their responsibility to serve their followers, especially in times of crisis and change. Leadership is a contact sport. We need to be fully there. We need to step up. Working toward solutions, we need to energize, connect, and stabilize our teams. We need to serve and grow, all the while staying grounded.
The road to success is strewn with obstacles and difficulties. The struggle never stops. That makes an engaged leader extraordinarily prized for grace under pressure. The more engaged you are, the more important it is not to let the fact that you don’t initially know what to do paralyze you. Here are a few skills that can help you win in that struggle:
Professionalism always The best leaders never lose their cool, even when it seems as though there is every reason to panic. When you're calm, they'll tend to remain calm, and you'll earn everyone's respect.
Big-picture thinking Run everything through the filter of how it will help achieve the mission. It can be too easy to get caught up in the small things that come up each day, not thinking beyond the current crisis.
Refuse to blame When a problem first emerges, it's easy to get caught up in the blame game. You could waste hours trying to identify the team member who made an error that led to your current problem. Look for a solution.
Collect information Effective problem solving means being able to gather as many facts as possible and put those facts to use in coming up with a solution.
Be positive Dwelling on the negative brings down morale. Be the leader who sees problems as "opportunities" and focuses on the positive aspects of working through the issue.
Monitoring results Pay close attention to the results of any decisions that are made. When you know the cause of the problem and what resolved it, you'll be better able to come up with ways to prevent it from repeating. Leadership means dealing with the day-to-day operations of a business, as well as working toward growing. When you can gracefully deal with the challenges you face along the way, you’ll see the results you want and need.
How can you become that engaged, effective leader? A few decisions turned into action will see that happen:
Show authentic, active interest in the lives of others. Ask what’s going on in their lives, listen deeply, and remember those things. Check in on them later.
Make others feel good about themselves. Know what the most common reason is that people quit their jobs? They don’t feel recognized. Catch them succeeding and praise them.
Be positive and optimistic. Speak positively about your life, position, company, and co-workers/employees. People thrive and want to be around positive leaders.
Add value. Give positive feedback with a desire and plan to help them grow. Employees, especially younger ones, want helpful feedback, not just a formal appraisal.
Ask questions. More questions. People need to know that their opinions matter and that their leaders heard them. Not being heard is the second reason people quit their jobs.
Engaged leaders produce engaged teams. That’s the way we engage clients and the world.