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It’s a recurrent theme in executive Coaching. Whether you are looking to improve your organization’s performance or working through the day-to-day leadership challenges of solving problems and getting the work done, with being in charge as a leader comes the need to positively impact.
To be successful as a leader you need to create impact. Transforming. Shaping and influencing. To get the expected results. To meet those deadlines. To improve execution. To lower stress. To (get your team to) win that pitch. To deal with conflicts. To reach that collective decision in a limited amount of time. To increase the confidence level of your team when territory gets unfamiliar or rough.
Challenging you say?
Here are 5 effective strategies to lead your team forward through impact.
And even if you’re only looking to maximize the impact of an idea, reading on no doubt gives you some tools to do so.
1: Know what motivates yourself and others
Let’s think about it. When was the last time you failed (or felt like failing) to convince your team of some necessary steps? Did you for yourself believe in its cause or was it something also imposed to you from above? And if you rethink the purpose you had, what was in it for the team?
Motivation is key in engaging others to follow your lead. But what if I told you no one is to be convinced of anything? In fact it is true. People only convince themselves. So you need to understand how to win others to see your point of view as the right one. How? By making sure your purpose is one that creates value and by consequence drives motivation for them. After all, unless imposed from above, you first convinced yourself this was a noble cause, right? If you concentrate on a purpose that creates value for all stakeholders, impacting will be a lot easier.
2: Be positive but remain authentic
Did you know that people are naturally unwilling to change their mind? We tend to record new information in a way that confirms our existing beliefs. This effect is known as the Confirmation bias or my side bias. And the more emotionally charged the information is, the more apparent the effect.
On the other hand, people do tend to change their mind more easily when there is a threatening situation. And when that happens, they follow the one they trust. Sounds logic, doesn’t it? Therefore, it is important that your personal energy and leadership is not only positive but also authentic. Be positive but don’t be an over-enthusiastic clown standing in front of your team. Build trust. Keep reflecting on your own values and ethics. Practice self-reflection when it comes down to your own strengths and weaknesses. And pay attention to not being biased yourself. Promote openness and accountability in all directions.
3: Manage the organizational politics
Have your experienced the following yourself? We know motivation is key to create an impact. But during a strategic meeting everyone brings some self-interest to the table. For some of them it is positively linked to the organization’s overarching goal and future. For some of them it is not. It can be good. Or bad.
Bad politics stand in the way of achieving professional and even your personal goals as a leader. To neutralize these politics and maximize your impact, we talked about defining a clear purpose and promoting openness. By doing this you are able to engage different perspectives in the decision-making process and exclude possible unfairness that comes with bad politics. Manage your internal relationships in a way that is consistent with your integrity. Know that good politics can facilitate change and speed up implementation processes. Use your own political competence to combine the best ideas and increase your impact.
4: Adapt your communication style
In many organizational surveys, poor communication skills are identified as a number one improvement point. How about your own experience? Think about giving but also receiving information. Do you get the feedback you want? Are expectations clear?
We can’t control what others think. That we already know. It’s all about their perception. And their willingness to change their mind. About how they receive, store and recall the information they get from you and from other sources. So the big question is, when does your communication engage? Content, vocal techniques and presentation skills are important but just the beginning. So is Charisma. It comes down to the authenticity and clarity of your key-message. And to deliberately break patterns in your communication style. Verbally and nonverbally. Active listening. Reframing. Detecting needs. Giving and receiving constructive feedback. Dealing with status and power. Managing emotions.
5: Delegate and Coach
I would say delegate effectively but based on my experience as an executive Coach, I know that delegating an sich is one of the most difficult things. And with that I mean delegating tasks or responsibilities that you feel to be your own. Since you are the leader. Recognizable?
Effectively delegating some of your important work to the high-potentials in your team has a positive effect on achieving your strategic goals. But that’s not the only win. By delegating some of those meaningful responsibilities based on their strengths (and weaknesses), you give them a chance to develop and grow. Combined with a Coaching leadership style and tons of constructive feedback, you encourage reflection that takes them to the next level. In addition, allowing your team members to contribute successfully gives them a motivation boost. You create an impact by increasing their engagement and stimulating a culture of accountability.
Could the conclusion be your Impact grows by letting go?
Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.
Sofie Varrewaere is the founder of BigFish4.me. After studying a Master in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, she ogled into the magical world of Recruitment, Selection and HR Services. Working for the world leader in HR, she has always been in an advisory role in relation to the larger goals of several multinational organizations. In 2013 she started her own company in International executive Coaching. Doing what she is good at, challenging others as well as herself.