Getting promoted to a management position is one thing, but efficiently leading a team is another. High-performing workers don’t always make good leaders. Retaining the same principles that you followed as an employee and shoving them onto your subordinates yields negligible results.
Remember: you’re no longer solely working for yourself.
To help your team members thrive in your work environment, you must adopt the correct principles, priorities, and values. Be a leader that your workers can trust.
So if you want to level up your career, reassess your approach. We’ll discuss 9 crucial leadership mindsets that separate managers from well-respected, innovative business leaders.
1. Preparing multiple exit strategies instead of fearing failure
As a business leader, you’re in charge of overseeing your team’s projects. Although you should strive for innovation, you can’t disregard resource limitations for the sake of executing new projects. Otherwise, you’ll run out of funds before you even produce results.
Colin Palfrey, the CMO of Crediful, emphasizes the importance of business continuity planning. He says, “Instead of diving head first into every business opportunity, do in-depth research beforehand to ensure that you make objective, calculated risks. Always assess the pros and cons. And even if the benefits outweigh the risks, you’ll do well to create multiple exit strategies should things go south. Strive for success but prepare for failure.”
2. Considering the opinions of upper management officers and subordinates alike
Newly appointed managers tend to prioritize the needs of the company’s executives and board of directors.
They overcompensate for their lack of authority through blind obedience. Although being a yes man might earn you some brownie points, agreeing to every idea your boss throws will impede business operations. Don’t hesitate to share opposing yet beneficial opinions.
An effective business leader shows empathy and considers subordinates’ needs when making business decisions. Executive-level managers only dictate long-term goals. The best people to consult regarding your day-to-day business operations are the professionals who execute them.
3. Offloading tedious yet critical tasks to focus on complex, challenging projects
It’s common for business leaders to feel overwhelmed. While workers typically perform the same tasks, managers must be ready to take on various projects that align with the company’s overall objectives.
Multitasking lets you accomplish more in shorter periods. However, taking on too many unrelated projects, otherwise known as context switching, impedes productivity. You’ll find yourself stacked with pending deliverables.
Ben Michael, the founder of Michael & Associates, emphasizes that efficient business leaders know which tasks to offload and automate. He says, “Multitasking has limited benefits. Taking on more responsibilities than what your mind and body can handle will only hurt your overall productivity ratings. You’ll end up stressed and unproductive. Instead of overworking yourself, offload the day-to-day operations to your subordinates and automate tedious yet critical tasks. That way, you can focus on big-picture thinking.”
4. Committing to long-term goals but being flexible with strategies
Business leaders typically work toward fixed company goals. For instance, PR directors could aim for brand growth, while sales managers might want to hit specific annual sales figures.
These goals are often set by c-suite executives. While you can’t just change them mid-year, you could adjust your plans of action accordingly.
No strategy guarantees success. As a business leader, you must know if a struggling plan will produce lucrative returns or turn into a money pit. Executing exit strategies too early wastes potential profits. Alternatively, you’ll accumulate losses if you push through with a struggling operation that shows no chance of success.
5. Socializing with subordinates without crossing boundaries
Although business leaders should socialize with their team, they can’t treat them as friends.
Befriending subordinates creates conflicts of interest. Whether you realize it or not, personal biases will affect your performance reviews, productivity ratings, and disciplinary feedback on your team.
Mark Pierce, the CEO of Colorado LLC Attorney, also shares that acting too friendly with certain workers could hurt team morale. Some might accuse you of favoritism. He says, “Business leaders in any industry must maintain a professional relationship with their employees. You can be personable and empathetic without being overly friendly. And if you like to joke around with coworkers, make sure you act the same way around all your team members.”
6. Accommodating every employee’s culture
With modern companies hiring worldwide nowadays, most teams comprise employees from different cultural backgrounds.
Employees and managers no longer need to meet in person. You can use project management platforms, HR software programs, and video conferencing apps, among other digital tools for remote workers.
Apart from streamlining business operations when setting up a remote office, focus on cultural awareness. Ensure that your workers respect each other. Familiarize yourself with local holidays, understand the differences between time zones, and enforce a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination.
Greg Heilers, the co-Founder of Jolly SEO, shares that he goes above and beyond cultural awareness in his remote company. He says, “I ensure that every employee knows the company values their beliefs and backgrounds. No one should feel isolated. We actually encourage team members to share various facts about their cultural backgrounds to prevent coworkers from accidentally offending each other.”
7. Knowing that profit margins don’t justify tight, limiting budget plans
It’s imperative for any company to stick to a budget plan.
No venture immediately turns a profit, so it must operate within its means to avoid going bankrupt during the startup phase. Business owners should have enough funds to ride out the first few years.
Despite the importance of budgeting, business leaders should know that they shouldn’t skimp on business operations. Your team should have enough funds to execute projects. Limiting them to an unreasonable budget impedes productivity and lowers morale. Some workers might even feel undervalued.
8. Ditching generic motivational quotes
Motivating your workers gives them a long-term goal.
Sales commissions, career advancement opportunities, performance rewards, and even quick pep talks incentivize employees to exceed their targets. They’ll work more enthusiastically with the right rewards program.
Although motivation paints the big picture, it only triggers brief spurts of energy and passion. A motivated individual hasn’t achieved anything yet. Focusing on motivating your employees without properly guiding them through business operations will ultimately lead to disappointment.
Anthony Martin, the founder/CEO of Choice Mutual, shares that many sales managers in the industry use the wrong drivers of motivation. He says, “Many sales managers abuse incentives. They use all-expenses-paid trips, high commissions, and free dinners to encourage their insurance agents. Unfortunately, motivation alone won’t drive sales. Managers would have more productive teams if they focused on training their sales agents instead of flaunting ridiculous rewards.”
9. Understanding that employees have different needs
Managers are in charge of guiding and training employees.
They must strike a balance between helping workers achieve personal growth and ensuring their team output aligns with the company’s overall goals. Prioritizing the latter creates a toxic work environment. Alternatively, workers won’t learn anything if you spoon-feed them throughout every business process.
To improve training programs, customize your approach. Assess every employee’s strengths and weaknesses so that you’ll know which areas to monitor. Generic, inefficient meetings only waste resources.
Develop leadership mindsets and guide your team to success
You don’t have to limit yourself to the above points. Overall, an effective business leader can empathize with coworkers, reassure subordinates during stressful situations, make quick yet rational decisions, and represent the company’s goals. Adopt any mindset that helps you develop these skills.
With that said, understand that honing leadership traits takes time—rushing the process will only overwhelm you. There’s no mindset “hack.” To become an effective leader, you must go above and beyond superficial Monday motivation quotes and overhaul your approach toward leadership.
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