Sep 24, 2019
"As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others."Bill Gates's leadership quote runs counter to the archetypal manager who only gives commands and "drives" people through panic and positional power
And while leading a team is no cakewalk in today's fast-paced enterprise setting, leaders are expected to enable their teams to innovate and deliver great performances. This is the heart of what exceptional leadership looks like.
Here are four leadership habits you can start implementing to effectively empower your employees:
Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Group, promotes a safety culture that supports and even rejoices failure. There's an underlying idea at Virgin Group that, without trying something new and failing, it's difficult to innovate and improve.
Branson says, "We've never been 100 percent sure that any of the businesses we've started at Virgin were going to be successful. But over 45 years, we've always stood by our motto: 'Screw it, let's do it.' Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. Making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the DNA of every successful entrepreneur, and I am no exception."
So, a top priority for managers to advance their game is to identify and accept those strengths and create opportunities that will grow their employees in areas where they'll consistently shine.
This is empowering to employees because they'll feel like their engagement in new initiatives truly matters to the overall prosperity of the business.
One of the myths of a great leader is that they'll magically align everyone to a shared idea or purpose. Yes, building consensus and drawing people together may be a tradition of great leaders, but the reality is, people will differ, choose sides, and assert their beliefs.
Guess what? Exceptional leaders will let them.
Great leaders rely on the power of their team's diversity and promote conflicting thinking and civil dissent to consider all alternatives before making a well-informed judgment.
This is empowering to employees, who feel like their ideas are heard and respected before the determination is delivered. But first, a leader's job is to guarantee that people feel safe communicating disagreement.
If you want to foster high trust, high risk-taking, high creativity, and open communication, and you're still maintaining an autocratic leadership style, it may be time to loosen control and stop commanding. Now I'm going to tell you to do something very counter-intuitive as a leader: Allow your employees to take turns leading.
If you're in management, consider this: When you establish a great team under your leadership, take the higher path of distributing power and decision making. Because when you do, you gain real strength. Also, the team will have your back and do great work for the business to flourish.
When you think of great leaders, do you conjure up images of charismatic, high-profile executives in expensive suits who make all the right business moves?
Allow me to bring you back to the real world. Leaders are often contrarian types who set themselves apart by employing the skills and habits required to effectively influence human beings.
One of those habits takes more heart than head, as prescribed by a Bill Gates quote years back. It should resonate deep within our collective conscience if we are to raise the bar of our own leadership. The co-founder of Microsoft said:
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