3 Ways to Bring Out Your Team’s Best
Note: This is the second part of a three-part series by Leadfully giving advice to women in leadership.
Gender gaps aside, we all know that women are just as capable at leading as the next guy. In the first part of this series, we wrote about how women can focus on their own greatness to build others’ belief in their leadership prowess.
Today, we focus on how you can activate the best in others and shape a team to shine.
Focus on the greatness of others
The best leaders are those that can identify and nurture the potential in the people surrounding them — seeing possibilities others may not and inspiring them to be their best selves. If you’re a female leader on the rise, knowing what makes your team tick and how to empower them to lead is crucial to getting ahead.
Build unbreakable relationships
Corinne Post, author of a Journal of Behavioral Studies report entitled, “When Is Female Leadership An Advantage?” found that women, more than men, tend to focus on the quality of relationships. In an interview with Forbes, Post says, women “exercise relational leadership practices, stimulating high-quality relationships, bonding, and connectivity among members. This can be a strong advantage when teams are challenged by size, geographic dispersion and functional diversity.” But while playing nice may be a natural advantage, don’t assume being liked is enough to bring out the best in others.
What you can do:
Get to know the people on your team — truly, madly, deeply. Find out what motivates them and how they learn. What lights them up? Where do they want to be in a few years? Knowing your team, and letting them get to know you, provides the insight you need to help them on their journey and build the trust and loyalty necessary to tackle the toughest challenges.
Invest in someone else’s success
Nurturing and developing others’ talent does not begin and end with the passing down of wisdom and advice. “Access, introductions, a defender in your corner willing to advocate on your behalf — these are the traits that separate a mentor from a sponsor,” says Dr. Brandy Aven, professor of Organizational Behavior at Carnegie Mellon. “And more importantly, they appear to be some of the reasons why men climb the ladder faster or have more success in starting their own businesses,” suggests Dylan Kendall in her article “Thanks for the advice — now please promote me.”
What you can do:
You want the people on your team to shine. One thing you can do is look for opportunities outside the confines of the work in which to nurture their passion, expand their network, and gain exposure to other senior leaders.
Don’t forget to be an advocate as well. Publicly praise the people on your team so they are recognized by others. Promote them to take on greater responsibilities — and pave the way for their success. We guarantee that these efforts will pay dividends later.
Have the tough conversations
Too often, women shy away from giving hard feedback or calling out bad behavior — fearing being seen as unfair or disliked. In reality, your perspectives in these moments are invaluable to the person on your team and can often be the key to unlocking someone’s best self.
What you can do:
Giving great feedback is both an art and a science — requiring clarity of thought and a spirit of generosity. Here’s what we suggest:
First, get clear about the message you want to deliver — what you’ve observed working, where there are gaps, and the unintended consequences or impact of those behaviors or actions. Be specific and use examples to support your points.
Next, schedule time to share your perspectives. Create room for the other person to respond and share their side of the story. Don’t forget to end the conversation with next steps or clear expectations in order to foster a sense of shared accountability.
There are innumerable home court advantages to women in leadership. Cultivating relationships, recognizing opportunities, streamlining inefficiencies. But perhaps more importantly, they are masterful at devising solutions that serve not just themselves but the greater whole. Leveraging these strengths to navigate some of the more traditional workplace pitfalls, is exactly the kind of strategy it takes to get ahead.
Up next, we’ll tell you about how to go the last mile by focusing on the greater goal. Want to start leading more fully? Check out Leadfully today.