Looking to boost your leadership skills? Now is a good time. 71% of companies do not believe that their leaders are capable of leading their organization into the future. If you’re reading this, you’ve taken an important first step towards becoming a better leader. True growth of any kind starts with intention.
Here are four practices you can apply today to lead your team successfully towards the future.
Own What You Don’t Know
It’s one of the most difficult lessons to grasp as a leader–you don’t have all of the answers. The good news? No one expects you to. Pretending that you know what you don’t know will produce the opposite outcome than you’re hoping for. Your team will eventually see through the facade and lose trust. Practice these words and say them often, “I don’t know. Can you help?” Empower your team to take ownership and find the answers.
Place More Trust in Your Team
You can’t control the outcome of everything, so consider this your permission slip to release that tight grip. Nobody likes a micromanager, but the damage of this type of behavior goes well beyond annoyance. As a leader, one of your top priorities should be big picture thinking. Micromanaging will inevitably get you stuck in the weeds of details… details that you’ve hired a team to handle. It also establishes an environment of mistrust and limited growth.
Learn How to Listen Deeply
Richard Branson advises leaders to listen more than they talk, and for good reason. The practice of deep listening, or listening for context rather than just the content of a message, is one of the best ways to gain the information you need to make better business decisions. Next time an employee comes to you with a problem, resist the urge to make assumptions and cut in. Instead, stay quiet and truly listen for his or her emotions, desires, and motives. This will give you the information you need to respond with clarity.
Seek Growth, Not Perfection
In my book, The Perfect Plan, I recount a time when my team and I were awarded a $450 million deal, only to have the decision reversed later that evening. While my knee jerk reaction was to create irrational excuses in my head, I snapped back to my senses and realized that this was an incredible opportunity for growth. After applying the lessons we learned that day, our close rate grew to 98%. Becoming a better leader means looking out for these lessons along the way, and encouraging your team to do the same.