Leaders and their behaviors are critical components for team success of any team. Often though, Leaders overlook or are unmindful of the importance of their own behaviors, due to being neck deep in day-to-day transactions.
My work with FocusU, allows me to interact with top leaders of different companies representing a variety of organizational experiences. This close and constant interaction has given me the opportunity to observe Leaders and answer the question, “Are there similar behaviors that all successful leaders display?”
While, this is not an exhaustive list, here are three I noticed:
1. Holding onto a Vision –
A successful leader not only creates a vision, but makes sure that the team is holding onto it. I met a leader once who ran a successful business. He had a team of around 22 employees. One day his shop was gutted in an unfortunate fire and he lost his fortune. He could not save anything. Distraught as he was, he asked the whole team to come together and asked them a question. “Why do you think this happened?” Nobody had a clue. Than he answered, “This happened because now the time has come for all of us to expand our business and take it to the next level.”
As a leader it is good that you give your team a new vision when they require it the most. But more importantly, you should be able to hold on to your vision. You should be able to note down the steps that are required for accomplishing it, especially when nobody else is able to see that. It took around 7 years for that leader to actually take his business to the next level he talked about. But he could do that since he kept holding onto his vision.
2. Influencing by pulling not pushing –
I have met a lot of leaders who are known as great influencers and the tool they use is that of “Pull”. To explain this a bit more, think of a scenario when water flows down the mountain. Does that require any effort from the mountain? It does not. Similarly the best way to influence is when you learn to “let go”, and not always try to be “in control”.
Here is an example to explain this: Once I was having dinner with a leader. He did not like the dish that was served to him. Instead of reacting, he responded and asked for the chef. He said, “Chef, I would like this dish to be bit more dry and less spicy. If that can not be done it’s okay, but if you could do it I would really appreciate that”.
The response that we get often depends upon whether we react or respond. Only our expectation of someone does not change another’s reaction to us. The leader gave a choice to the chef. Having said that, he also made him aware of what he likes. The Chef did not feel compelled or insulted – and hence he took a decision to delight his customer.
It is a small story that beautifully explains the substance of influence is Pull not Push.
3. Build Trust –
Below are the two common approaches that I have seen leaders use to build trust:
A. Build Connect –
Just by giving trust you cannot always expect your team to also start trusting you. Every leader must empathize with his or her team. Look for an opportunity to interact with your team outside work. Ask lot of questions, listen to them, try and know about their life, their likes, their dislikes etc. Knowing your team well and showing genuine interest in them, makes it easier to strengthen the trust. As it is rightly said, people do not care how much you know, till they know how much you care”.
B. Honesty –
As a leader you are watched 24 hours (well, almost). Any action of yours can break the trust you have built over a period of time. Your team should always feel that you are reliable and approachable all the time. However, to accomplish that you should never over-commit to your team. Always “DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WOULD DO”. If you feel there is anything you won’t be able to deliver on time, admit it with honesty. As a leader if you are not qualified do the job, your team can still help you to accomplish your goal, provided you are honest in sharing your position.
These are few of the behaviors I found common in different great leaders. If new Leaders even try and incorporate one of them in their lives, it should definitely help.
Do share your thoughts on what you feel about these 3 behaviours.