3 Tips on How to Become an Effective and Impactful Leader
Have you ever wondered what the qualities of a good leader are?
As a business owner or manager, you want to be known as a “great” leader, but what does it take to be an effective and impactful leader in your community?
Leadership has to do with how we engage and influence others. How you’re able to move people to action, vision, and purpose.
I’ve had this conversation with hundreds of leaders over the last few years, and this is a topic that keeps being brought up in discussions again and again.
And so in today’s blog post, you’re going to learn how to become the BEST leader you can be - whether you consider yourself a CEO, founder, entrepreneur, or whatever title you use.
Because let’s face it - you can have ALL the money and strategy in the world, and still be unable to take action and lead even with the right information.
Or worse, you can’t get your team or the people supporting you to move in the right direction.
SO, if you’re an overwhelmed and/or firefighting leader that feels you don’t have the bandwidth or time to:
Make clear decisions
Prioritize key conversation
Juggle all your important responsibilities
Strategize with intention
Build sustainable processes
...then listen up!
I’m going to be sharing my 3-step process for increasing employee engagement, motivation, and ultimately, your bottom line.
This process will help you become an inspiring and focused leader able to build trust and make the most of your team.
Measuring engagement in the workplace
I’m going, to begin with sharing a number - a percentage.
It’s a percentage that describes the number of employees worldwide that aren’t engaged or actively disengaged in their job.
That percentage is 85%. EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT.
The percentage is incredibly high and has a LOT to do with the concept of burnout.
Burnout causes employees to have less positive feelings toward their work and, as a result, to be less engaged.
So why should you, as the CEO and business owner, care about this particular percentage?
This means that all of you as leaders, all of you who are running companies and businesses NEED to think about how you’re engaging with your employees and team.
In order for employees and even for yourself to be highly productive to perform, there are 2 things they must know about you.
Your people need to feel like the organization they work for CARE and that it’s more than just about making money; it’s about purpose.
Understanding the Numbers
Let’s break down what ‘not engaged’ and ‘disengaged’ really means 👇🏾
Not engaged means that employees are psychologically unattached to their work and company.
As a result, their engagement needs aren’t being met.
So they’re putting in the time to work, but not the energy and passion INTO the work.
Secondly, let’s break down the 2nd part of this number - which is those who are disengaged.
When your employees or team are actively disengaged, they’re not only unhappy at work, they’re also resentful as their needs aren’t being met.
And this could also be true for you as the leader.
Think about it. If you’re unhappy and your needs aren’t met, it affects your own happiness.
You’re potentially self-sabotaging.
As a result, you can undermine the engaged co-workers, team, and ultimately your bottom line - the foundation of your organization.
This is why the concept of burnout is KEY, and why I talk so much about it.
And if you haven’t taken my quiz yet, take it because it’ll give you an opportunity to learn more about burnout and that it’s more than just physical symptoms. It’s about whether or not you have a connection to what you’re doing.
The 3-Step Process
The 3-step process that I’m going to share with you, is going to allow you to:
- Get into the heart of employee engagement
- Help yourself become a better leader
- Force yourself to reflect on whether you’re showing up
- See if the actions you’re taking truly resonate with you
As you dive deeper into this 3-step process, you’re going to realize that in life, professionally and personally, everything isn’t going to be rosy. You’re not always going to be happy.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you’re reflecting and trying to decide if where you are, is really where you want to be.
In business and life, you WILL have highs and lows, sometimes experiencing them separately or together. Part of being an effective leader is dealing with difficult emotions.
But at the end of the day, you want to feel comfortable, confident, and excited about what you’re doing for work.
And when you’re thinking about your employees, you may tend to forget that people do things for their own reasons.
Whether or not they’re engaged has to do with their own reasons, the things that are important to them...not the things that are important to us.
And that’s why it’s important you take the time to engage with your team if you want to influence them.
If you truly want your team to take action in the right direction, there are 3 basic things to keep in mind:
- Your team isn’t you. This is something that you need to keep in mind when working with others and leading a team.
- You don’t know them. Even if you think you do, you don't know them. The biggest killer of relationships, both personal and professional, is that you think that you can read people's minds.
- They don’t know what you want. Your team isn't you, you don't know them, and they don't know what you want.
And that's why it's so important to engage. And if you engage, both sides will win.
Let’s break this down!
1/ Your Team Isn’t You
First, let’s start with a few more numbers, as some of you reading this may operate more with your left brain.
95% of people think they're self-aware, but only 10 to 15% actually are [Reference].
Working with colleagues who aren't self-aware can cut a team's success IN HALF.
And this is why self-awareness is so critical.
The first step and the most important thing is first learning about yourself, the leader.
Self-awareness is your ability to not only understand your strengths and weaknesses but to recognize that your emotions and your behaviors have an effect on others.
You must be able to recognize what is/are:
- Important to you
- Your targets
- Your preferences
- The triggers you have
- The personal information you share
This key information will help your team understand how to support you and your business.
But what if you haven't taken the time to build your self-awareness? What if you aren't comfortable sharing that with others?
In that case, it's going to be SUPER difficult for them to understand how they're supposed to show up and know what you need.
Remember, no one can read your mind. It starts with you.
So as you start to build your self-awareness, and as you start to share these different things with your team, or whoever is working with you will reciprocate.
And they'll let you also know what you need to know about them, resulting in you and your team have a successful working relationship.
So how can you start to build self-awareness? Here are three basic ways you can do so. 👇🏾
Building self-awareness through reflection
The first that I talk about so much with all of you on building self-awareness is through reflection. And unfortunately, a lot of leaders say I don't have time for reflection.
Sometimes in order to move forward in your business is to take a step back and get a fresh perspective of yourself.
You have to be honest with yourself in order to reach your full potential as a leader.
Self-reflection can help increase your personal strengths not just in business but in every area of your life.
Some questions to ask yourself:
What are your triggers?
What are your preferences?
What is my role?
What are my targets?
How am I going to communicate this to others?
And it's important to gain feedback on this. And when I work with clients, I do a 360 feedback where I actually interview your team members. I have a conversation with your team on how they perceive you.
Ask your team questions about you such as:
- What can you work on?
- What are some things you do?
- Do you have any advice for you?
And the last thing that you can do is leverage assessments. There are so many different kinds - corporate, esoteric, spiritual, etc that are free to use.
Asking your team these kinds of questions and doing assessments are a great way to get another perspective on how you might be showing up.
They can help you think about some things you might need to communicate to yourself and others in order to move forward in becoming an effective and impactful leader.
With self-awareness, you’re able to understand your emotions, strengths, and weaknesses.
Then, you’re able to deliberately communicate how people can leverage you effectively.
2/ You Don’t Know Them
You don’t truly know your team or the ones who work for you.
This is why engagement and approaching engagement in a way that’s easy and simple to understand is important.
SO many leaders who are firefighting, reluctant or overwhelmed, feel like they don't have the time, space, energy, or the bandwidth to engage.
But you don’t have to feel this way. You can break down employee engagement into super-simple steps.
It could be that you and your team decide to bring on a new employee to help offset energy and time.
Or maybe you decide to take a few moments to check and make sure everyone’s on the same page with everything. You prioritize conversations on where everyone is at with their roles and tasks.
Employee engagement also looks like taking the time to learn more about your team. You’re giving them the opportunity to build their own self-awareness and communicate to you where they’re going, and what they’re looking to do.
Taking the time to do this builds psychological safety. These conversations are what make people feel engaged.
Why is this so important? When you do this, people are more excited to show up and work their hardest for you.
Are you wondering what are some of the things you can do to create this engaging atmosphere? Here are some of the questions you can ask during your conversations with your team:
What are your career aspirations?
What are your personal aspirations?
What motivates you?
What are your values?
What are some of the things you love to do?
And let’s be real - if you’re managing direct reports on your employees’ performance, and you CAN’T answer in-depth some of these questions about your team members, then you haven't done a good job as a leader with employee engagement.
I’ve worked with leaders and CEOs with businesses like yours, and when asked about employee engagement, their reply is often something like, “Well, you know, I have 15 direct reports.”
My response to them is always the same - if you’re NOT able to answer deeply important questions like this about your employees, then maybe you *shouldn’t* have so many direct reports.
Other things you can do to engage with your team are to give them the opportunity to share their communication style, their perspective on things, and what their professional development needs are.
Again, if you don't have the answers to these questions, create the space and time in your calendar to have them. These conversations are SO important.
And when you do, keep them on file so that when you do have follow-up conversations, or it comes time for an appraisal conversation, you have these data points that you can use moving forward.
A key thing to also keep in mind in terms of engagement is that each employee might need a different message from you to feel engaged and mobilized.
So the key question that you need to answer for each member of your team, or rather, to ask each member of your team is:
What motivates them or resonates with them for being rewarded for work well done?
(You should also be able to also answer this question for yourself.)
Find out from your team and also yourself:
- Do you know what you want in return for a good job done?
- Do you want cash or awards?
- Do you want a private thanks in an email or in public?
You’re taking the time to dig deep and figure out what your team wants in exchange for a good job done.
Also, you’re giving your employees or your team the opportunity to share information with you.
Remember, you or the employee might need to be recognized and acknowledged in a different way. And that's completely okay.
We each are individuals, we each are unique with different needs.
So stop trying to treat everyone the same and like yourself, and START getting comfortable sharing what you want in exchange for a job well done.
Remember: you can't build an empire or business on your own. Instead, when you leverage your self-awareness to better engage with anyone (but ESPECIALLY those you invest time and money into) you can help achieve your goals faster.
You can plan and build steps to create a stronger team all around. This is what I do with my clients and what I’ve found to yield real results.
3/ They Don’t Know What You Want
As a leader, setting expectations is important for you and your business.
Crucial questions to ask yourself and reflect on while you’re building your awareness are:
How do you communicate rules, tasks, and expectations? And how often do you give feedback?
If you're within a more structured environment/company, there might be core processes in place for each of these things. If you do, ask yourself, is the process:
- Something you’re aware of how to do correctly?
- Are your employees aware of how to access this information?
- Is it accurate?
- Have you updated it?
- And if you're working within more of a startup environment, have you taken the time to put things onto paper?
- Have you checked in with your employee to make sure they even know what they're supposed to be doing and what their targets are?
These are some things that you should reflect on, and reflect on often.
When you're thinking about giving feedback or setting expectations, the FIRST thing you should really answer yourself, in terms of your team is - what do you expect from them?
That may seem like such a simple question. But so many leaders don't take the time to actually think through this important concept of setting and managing expectations from their team.
You can go even further by asking yourself:
- What does success look like to you?
- What is this employee doing?
- How is this employee not meeting expectations?
- What do you want them to do differently?
And last, but not least, but most importantly, what support do they need from you?
Yes, YOU, the leader! In order for your employees to be successful, they need to know what you can do for them in order to be successful.
And here's the thing. This may be easier said than done, but you NEED to set clear expectations, give feedback often, and OVER communicate.
This can only come to you over time through practice.
And by beginning to engage with members of your team or your employees in a way that’s strategic and intentional, you’ll be able to improve your bottom line which is the foundation of your business.
By doing this, you’ll leave a greater impact and become a more effective leader than ever before.
Is what I’ve shared today surprising? Did any tips stand out to you? Which of the steps are you planning on implementing?
Let me know by tagging me in a story and include the hashtag #askakua. I will also share a special little gift for you!
. . .
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