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How can leaders of the future become successful in engaging their teams?

By Peter Cullen FIML

Whilst the development of work-specific and personal use technology is rapidly gaining pace, we must consider the skills that will enable success for leaders of the future. 

In truth, the majority of the current people skills of outstanding leaders will continue to be a priority into the future, both online and face to face. Indeed, aspiring and new leaders will need to blend the growing use of technology with the fundamentals of leading people to succeed. Acknowledging and understanding the power that lies within a team and how to harness their skills, knowledge and energy to act together to develop, build and implement great ideas is also paramount. 

Consider a great leader you have worked with or know, including those in public life. Then, take a moment to consider what they regularly do that leads you to believe they are great. They more than likely had a solid understanding of and an ability to use these people skills.

Great people skills help leaders of the future to engage and interact with others. Some of these behaviours may include empathy, respect, recognition, compassion, integrity, honesty, humility, emotional intelligence, communicating, vulnerability, security, responsibility, accountability, and solution-focused, which help leaders become worthy of other people’s trust. 

When good leaders engage with their team to improve a process or resolve a concern, they know it is not about them. Instead, it is about the team and their collective contribution that will provide the best outcome. 

Involve your team and engage them

Brainstorming is a great way to engage the whole team and their collective knowledge and experience.

Here is a brief example of how you can include and engage your team when finding solutions or creating something new.

Who: Involving the team and any other relevant stakeholders opens the door to explore a variety of their ideas, perspectives and possibilities. 

Where: A suitable environment conducive to exploring and documenting all ideas. Using whiteboards and flip charts work really well.

What: Be humble, vulnerable and acknowledge the team knows more than me alone and admit it to them.

Speak with the team to confirm what is currently known and the level of importance and urgency. Confirm the required outcome. 

How: Solutions and implementation focused brainstorming around resources which may include people, technology, budget, meetings, levels of authority. Questions should be open and expansive to explore all possibilities, e.g. What can we do to improve this? How can we make that happen?

When: Time frame for check-ins and completion. This may change due to under or overestimation of time or unforeseen circumstances.

The final outcomes are presented as a team effort. It is about the team working together, what they achieved and how they will work together on the implementation. It is about what they have achieved.

Why? Because these fundamentals of leadership lead people to trust in their leader. If people have trust in their leader, they will feel safe, which often leads to higher levels of engagement and performance.

Peter Cullen is a Fellow of IML ANZ and is a management training facilitator and coach.

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