The debate over which leadership style breeds winning teams is as heated as ever.
Some executives and managers argue for an autocratic approach, while others value empathy above all else.
Some prefer to participate in a democratic team, and others set themselves apart as coaches or mentors.
Wherever you stand in the discussion, it’s essential to know that any leadership style, when adhered to rigidly, can hinder your team’s performance.
That’s why the best leaders adapt their style to the needs of their team.
This article will draw your attention to some aspects of team leadership that can be harmful to productivity. It will also provide you with actionable advice on imbuing your leadership style with qualities that will inspire growth, engagement, and loyalty.
Separating Yourself or Standing Apart from Your Team
The best kind of leadership is almost invisible. If you want to lead a successful team, become a part of it instead of creating a distance between yourself and your teammates.
If your employees find you aloof and disagreeable, they are less likely to come to you with new ideas or problems they’re facing in their work.
That means that you’re missing out on the richness of different perspectives and innovative approaches to accomplishing your goals.
On the other hand, getting to know your team means that you can share your vision more convincingly. It also allows you to personalise your approach to motivating every team member.
To integrate yourself better with your team, drop the hierarchy and approach them as individuals.
Merge the gap with praise for a job well done, a show of trust and respect, and a willingness to listen with an open mind.
As a genuine part of the team, your ear is always to the ground. This makes every obstacle to success more manageable.
Micromanagement hinders your team as much as yourself. It’s a surefire way to prevent progress and slow work down to a crawl.
Micromanagement ensures short-term goals are carried out to perfection; no argument there.
In the long run, however, micromanaging leaders create dependent employees and an incompetent team.
Apart from that, micromanagement also wastes your time and keeps you away from more critical tasks.
Giving up control is hard, isn’t it?
Well, the good news is that micromanagement rehab has a couple of easy-to-follow steps that will help you on your way.
The first step is to let go of perfectionism. Empower your employees to come up with their own solutions and accept failure as a way forward instead of a dead end.
After that, you can start assigning more to your employees. And don’t delegate just tasks. Delegate authority!
Finally, set clear expectations beforehand and discuss the results afterward.
By avoiding micromanagement, you’re allowing yourself to focus on critical tasks and evolving your team to become problem solvers and action takers.
Acting Without Integrity
Leaders who act without integrity disintegrate their teams.
Integrity means acting with honesty, humility, and reliability. Following a leader who exhibits these traits, team members are less prone to acting unethically and less likely to leave the team.
In business terms, this translates to higher productivity, increased motivation, and low turnover.
Integrity can be tricky to assess within ourselves, so you can ask yourself a few questions to determine where you stand.
If some of them seem preposterous or difficult to answer, those are exactly the aspects of your leadership that need work.
- Am I accountable for my behavior and the decisions I make?
- Do I own up to my mistakes and share my failures?
- Do I treat people the way I want to be treated?
- Knowing my own actions, would I trust myself to do the right thing?
Having answered these questions and resolving to make changes where they are needed, you’re on your way to imbuing your leadership style with integrity.
Valuing Authority Over Empathy
In leadership, being empathetic is often equated with weakness. In reality, empathy is power.
Empathy enables you to motivate your team and instills loyalty. It also empowers your employees to be confident in their actions and outspoken with new ideas.
In an organization that values empathy, productivity and engagement run high.
But don’t just take our word for it; trust what the employees themselves are saying.
As many as 76% of employees have reported that being shown empathy at work makes them more engaged and productive.
Luckily, empathy is a skill that can be learned.
Ask, listen, and reflect. These are the three ingredients of an empathetic approach.
By practicing those three activities and making them a habit, you’re actively developing your empathy skills.
If you’re noticing low levels of performance and engagement in your team, it may be because your leadership is autocratic and authoritative.
Consider changing lanes and adopting a more empathetic and friendly leadership style.
Providing Ineffective Feedback
Feedback is one of the essential motors that propel the team forward. If it’s ineffective, your team can find itself dead in the water.
When done right, feedback arms your employee with actionable strategies to improve and be a more effective part of the team.
Valuable feedback is also a way to bring you closer to your team, build rapport, strengthen relationships, and engender loyalty.
The easiest way to render feedback ineffective is to confuse it with criticism.
Criticizing an employee is sure to make them defensive and less likely to adhere to your instructions and advice. That means that mistakes will be repeated, and morale within the team will remain low.
Remember that feedback means growth.
When providing your employees with feedback, concentrate on the individual and not the task.
The goal here is to allow the individual to grow, not to establish the best ways to complete the job.
Imbuing your leadership style with positive qualities, such as trust, integrity, and empathy, inspires your team to do their best work and feel valued every step of the way.
Ultimately, your team’s performance and progress depend on your qualities as a leader.
To propel your team forward, instead of holding them back, adapt your leadership style to their needs and expectations and make sure they have the resources and the confidence to succeed.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.