When it comes to dealing with both leaders and team members, it's all about creating a solid level of trust in order to keep day to day operations smooth and efficient. You will find that alignment, transparency, and productivity will all be improved when you can bridge trust between different stakeholders and levels in your workplace.
A good leadership program will put building trust and relationships at the forefront as the foundation of your management and influence. Whether you are working to a senior executive leadership role or already leading teams and seeking innovative ways to connect with your team members, you must take some essential steps to foster trust in the workplace.
Provide Support and Constructive Feedback
Leaders need to be pillars that other individuals can rely and lean on. It is imperative you establish a support system that advocates for and champions the team.
Not only does this mean backing up your team members and uplifting team morale, but also being able to give consistent feedback that can legitimately help each individual grow. The key is being constructive and mindful so that whatever feedback you provide is actually helpful and doesn't end up discouraging or turning people away.
Being a supportive leader is two-pronged. Team members should be able to rely on you to support their endeavors and protect them from work friction, and you should also be the go-to source of wisdom that can effectively call them out on mistakes and provide them with productive ways to move forward.
Be Communicative and Available
The last thing you want is to create a distance that makes you seem unreachable. With so many different channels for communication today, it can be difficult for leaders to stay on top of every conversation and message being sent in every direction. However, you need to find a way to keep open and transparent communication channels including making yourself available should anyone need you.
One executive leader at a large multinational enterprise always set time aside in his calendar that could be booked by the team as required. It's also about being active on various communication channels so that you are always approachable when your people need you.
Set an Example With Your Own Actions
You simply cannot expect people to listen if you don't walk the talk. This is especially important as employees are more attuned to the culture they expect from work.
Just as you expect them to fulfil their roles, they will keep an eye out to see if you are fulfilling your role as the leader. Set goals for yourself and follow through, be a positive example, and carry yourself in a way that demonstrates high self-respect and genuine care for the people and work around you.
If people want to emulate you, they are more likely to accept your leadership role.
Monitor Yourself to Avoid Micromanagement
Micro-management is often a trait of ineffective leadership, and it can be a downfall for those who are trying to establish themselves as competent leaders. When you micromanage everything, you lose focus on your main duties as a leader: to effectively monitor and maintain your top priorities, support and grow your team, and delegate when appropriate.
While you are meant to guide and assess everything that goes on, you don't want to hover too much and get into every person's minute actions. This not only hinders the productivity of your team members but will also unnecessarily increase your workload.
Create a System for Conflicts
When you're in a leadership role, you will have to address conflict at some point. When you are leading your own team, this can be especially tough to deal with, as you don't want to come off as harsh or biased in any way.
Rather, you want to create a system where conflicts are approached in a structured, consistent, and fair manner. If you don't, conflicts can quickly escalate and cause even more significant work friction leading to poor individual and team performance. Therefore, consider how you want to approach these scenarios before they happen and help the team be proactive in obtaining constructive feedback from peers.
Provide Avenues for Employee Growth
Employee growth is more than just your basic training and development plan. It's about providing a series of avenues for people to grow and be challenged with higher levels of responsibility.
A good program will give employees the autonomy to try out new projects and ideas while also giving them the security of knowing that you and the organization have a vested interest in employee learning and growth.
Actually Get to Know Your Team
It's easier said than done, but you should be getting to know each person on your team and the role that they play. There will be some who you connect with more than others, but don't make that the basis of your relationship, as it should be based on respect and teamwork.
This doesn't mean you need to try and be friends with every person on your team. It's just about understanding the nuances and responsibilities of each team member, personality and circumstances so that you can make the appropriate decisions as needed.
In addition to having the insight needed to delegate, you also have a better perception in the eyes of your team members when you show that you care. Empathy is key to great leadership. Nobody wants to feel like they are just a nameless cog in the system, so getting to know your team helps significantly increase employee engagement and the overall employee experience.
Be Transparent Through Highs and Lows
Finally, you must be transparent as a leader. This obviously doesn't mean you lay all the cards out and throw sensitivities out the window. It just means being upfront and honest with the dealings that affect the workplace.
Whether you're having a good or bad day, being transparent as a leader is important because it shows that you can be trusted and, in turn, you trust your team members. This is essential when trying to create mutual trust that will help build high performing teams and unite the team.
Building trust is a must if you want to succeed as a leader in your company. Executive coaching is not only valuable but essential as it will help provide you with an external perspective to develop your leadership skills and practices so that you can build a long lasting relationship of trust with other leaders and team members. When you invest in this process, you increase the value of your contribution to the organization immensely and thereby reap benefits of increasing employee engagement and overall company profitability.
Stuart Andrews, the author of “The Leadership Shift: How to Lead Successful Transformations in the New Normal,” is the number one trusted advisor and executive coach in Australia specialising in helping executives and business leaders drive successful initiatives and building high performing teams. Schedule your 30-minute discovery call now and eliminate complexity from your business challenges.
People who work together often will not always see eye to eye. They may have different perspectives and ideas even disagree on essential matters. While it's impossible to avoid conflict, the good news is that the right kind of conflict can lead to incredible results.
Unguided leaders make poor decisions, develop less innovation and struggle to make their teams work effectively together. Hence it is essential to know how to efficiently manage conflict. The key is not to try to stop it but to harness it to develop new strategies in your company. The key to handling conflict, as with the relation between others, is to offer increased expertise in the position of an executive coach.
Executive coaching is a process that helps a leader gain insight into their leadership style and gains new skills. It involves a coach who meets with a leader regularly to help them evolve. Coaching is also a powerful way to develop collective leadership, where team members support each other in pursuing higher performance levels. Coaching is an excellent tool for helping leaders work together to solve challenging problems by encouraging them to think 'outside the box and to see different perspectives.
Since every leader is different, the coaching process can be customised and therefore seen as a two-way street built around specific outcomes. Coaching tools and techniques come from various sources, but the most successful methods can be distilled down to simple, actionable ideas that help you improve your leadership skills.
Below are some actionable insights into how executive coaching can help foster a more productive and harmonious work environment.
Here's what you need to know:
Gain Insight to Triggers of Conflict Priorities
One of the best ways to help manage conflict is understanding the triggers that make you more likely to respond negatively to a situation. For example, one of the most common triggers for conflict is a feeling of being ignored or overlooked.
For a leader, it's easy to fall into the trap of assigning a lot of work to one person, not giving them a chance to deliver, and then getting frustrated when they don't complete the work on time. The emphasis here is often on the leader to be more patient and review the overall prioritisation of work in collaboration with the team.
Develop Better Communication Skills
A saying goes, "People are how you communicate," and it's true. How you communicate with team members will significantly impact how they feel about a situation.
The key is to make sure that you're clear about what you're trying to communicate and then use an open and straightforward approach to communicate that message.
For example, if you have a team member who misses deadlines and is always late to meetings, it's essential to communicate so that it doesn't make them feel like they're being attacked. Instead, try to focus on the problem at hand and give the team members buy-in to fix the problem together.
Make Conflict More Productive
Conflict is an inevitable part of life. It can be destructive or it can be productive. In order for it to be productive, it must be managed with empathy and put in context. It's important to remember that conflict is not always bad. In fact, it can often lead to positive change. However, it's important to handle it correctly so that everyone involved feels respected and heard.
When conflict arises, we need to take a step back and assess the situation. What is the root of the problem? What are each person's goals? How can we best achieve those goals?
When conflict is approached in a constructive way, teams can often come up with better solutions than if it was simply avoided altogether.
Become More Observant
Being observant can help you identify triggers before they arise, assess the entire situation, and then find a way to work with the person involved to arrive at a better solution - one where both of you can benefit. By being aware of your own triggers and the triggers of those around you, you can take steps to avoid or diffuse conflict before it becomes too heated.
Taking a close look at an issue can help you find better approaches to correcting the matter. As an example, if you observe that a team member is unproductive and relationships are becoming bitter, reframing the situation can be used to turn it into a winning outcome. Examine the problem from a different angle, then try to come up with a new solution that will work for both members.
Some common triggers for conflict include: being ignored or dismissed, feeling belittled or disregarded, being left out or excluded from a conversation or activity, and feeling like someone is trying to take advantage of you. If you can become more aware of these and other potential triggers, you can work to avoid them or head them off before they lead to an argument.
Learn to Be More Approachable
Many people assume that a leader needs to be authoritarian and assertive at all times to get better results. However, this isn't true. When it comes to managing conflict, one of the best things you can do is to be approachable and open, which will help you build a stronger relationship with your team members.
If you find out that team members are having difficulty, don't be afraid to offer your help. In an identical way, you should also be open to the fact that you are not the only one with the answer and that it is necessary to listen to the opinions of others.
The Bottom Line
Conflict is often inevitable, but it doesn't have to be negative. It can be one of the best ways to help you and your team get better at what you do. Instead of avoiding conflict, embrace it, work with it, and learn to manage it.
As a leader, it's vital to help your team members grow and develop. Coaching is a great way to foster this growth, and it will also empower you to work together more effectively.
Whether you're working with a professional executive coach or a mentor, it's important to remember that managing conflict is about improving your communication, seeing the bigger picture, and getting buy-in from your team members.
If you are looking for an executive coach in Australia, Stuart can help you. Stuart Andrews provides leadership coaching to support executives, and business leaders drive successful initiatives.
At the same time, he aims to help your teams consistently perform at the highest level. Book a complimentary discovery call to get started! To learn more, pre-order Stuart’s new book on The Leadership Shift - How to Lead Success Transformations in the New Normal now.