We don’t need to tell you about the profound impact leaders have on their teams. All the best leaders inspire, motivate and encourage their teams to do great things.
Think Bezos, Branson, and Buffet. By contrast, ineffective leaders can deflate, demotivate and demoralize. Not only do poor leaders impact the bottom line, but workers will vote with their feet, usually out the door. And in a warning to leaders everywhere, 82% of employees in one survey said they would quit a bad leader. If you want to excel in your management career, learning about the different leadership strategies of effective leaders is the first step.
In this article, we discuss what leadership strategies are. We share examples of various techniques and discuss why you need a leadership strategy for your organization.
Let’s get started by exploring what strategic leadership is.
What Is Strategic Leadership?
Strategic leaders use self-reflection, creative problem-solving skills, and vision to help teams perform at their best.
Strategic leadership isn’t a textbook leadership style in the way that visionary or charismatic leadership is. It’s more about having the right mindset and knowing when to use different management styles depending on the situation and the people involved.
Carry on reading to find out more about the leadership strategies you can draw on in your practice.
What Are Leadership Strategies?
Leadership strategies and tactics are the plans, actions, and approaches used to achieve goals and guide teams to success.
Different organizations, departments, and teams often require varying approaches for the best results. And while you may naturally lean towards one strategy, an awareness of the others – and when to use them – will help you in your career.
Factors contributing to strategic leadership include a strong vision, adaptability, self-awareness, and a culture of continuous improvement.
Steve Jobs is an excellent example of effective leadership in action. He was able to transform Apple from a struggling computer company into one of the most valuable and innovative global brands. He had a crystal-clear vision for the future of technology and was able to inspire and motivate his team to deliver on company objectives.
Why Do You Need A Leadership Strategy?
Apple wouldn’t be the worldwide powerhouse it is today without Steve Jobs’ leadership. And just like Apple, effective leadership strategies can drive your organization forward. However, good leadership doesn’t just happen. It needs to be planned and developed. That’s where the strategy part comes in.
And it’s worthwhile making the investment. PwC reported that leadership development helps to improve financial performance. According to the research, those companies that invested in human capital delivered five times higher returns.
Here are some of the other headline impacts of effective leadership strategies:
- Improved productivity
- Increased revenue
- More motivated workers
- Stronger company culture and employer brand
- Better recruitment and retention
- Enhanced employee engagement
- Superior employee experience
- More satisfied customers
The bottom line is that strong leadership can give you that all-important competitive advantage. The skills and behaviors of leaders are closely aligned with the organization’s vision and goals. Moreover, your people are fully on board and know what’s required.
Improve Team Performance With These 6 Leadership Strategies
- Create a vision
- Delegate and empower
- Promote two-way communication
- Give and receive constructive feedback
- Encourage a learning culture
- Focus on employee experience
Here are 6 best-practice strategies to help you improve performance and keep your team engaged:
1. Create a vision
Setting a clear direction of travel is vital for every leader. Without that vision, your team, department, or company flounders like the proverbial ship without a sail. However, be sure to keep the vision attainable and measurable. And share it with the team so everyone is contributing toward common goals. Defining and articulating a vision is critical for newly appointed leaders or those embarking on a project with a new team.
2. Delegate and empower
Delegation is an essential strategy for all leaders. It empowers team members and improves motivation and a sense of self-worth. Identify the team’s strengths and weaknesses and divvy up tasks as appropriate. Then, train, coach, and equip your people with the resources and tools they need to get on with the job.
3. Promote two-way communication
Leaders don’t have all the answers. In fact, many breakthrough innovations have come from employees. Two-way communication gives workers opportunities to share insights and feedback with management. And it shows that employees’ opinions matter and are valued, which in turn will enhance employee engagement.
4. Give and receive constructive feedback
Providing regular feedback to the team is essential for improving performance. Make sure it’s timely, specific, and constructive. And don't be afraid to invite feedback from direct reports. You may learn a thing or two that will help you improve as a leader.
5. Encourage a learning culture
Creating a learning culture is critical to team performance. Look for opportunities to develop growth with training and professional development, mentoring, and cross-team collaborations. Allow team members to experiment and take risks. And lead by example. Keep your own skills sharp with ongoing professional development and role model the growth mindset you expect in others.
6. Focus on the employee experience
Several driving factors influencing the employee experience come under the remit of leaders. It’s leaders who create a positive work environment, develop team trust and a culture of respect. The employee experience should be at the heart of everything you do as a leader. And you can begin by recognizing employees’ hard work and celebrating team successes. There’s nothing more motivating and encouraging. And it goes a long way to creating a positive workplace vibe where people want to work.
How To Create A Leadership Strategy
- Motivate and inspire
- Create accountability in your team
- Be empathetic
- Learn from mistakes
- Focus on continuous learning
- Show employees your appreciation
Being an effective leader requires dedication, commitment, and self-awareness. And just like any skill, it has to be nurtured and developed. You may naturally have a favored style. Perhaps you excel at communication. Or maybe you are an instinctive motivator. Whatever the case, everyone has some aspects they can work on to boost their all-round leadership capabilities.
To guide your thinking, here are the essential elements to include in your leadership strategy.
1. Motivate and inspire
Take some cues from inspirational leaders in your workplace. What is it that they do to motivate the team? Consider what makes them so compelling and look for ways to incorporate their ideas into your practice.
2. Create accountability in your team
Lead from the top by setting the behaviors and standards you expect in others and share those with the team. Establish metrics and milestones to hold team members and yourself accountable and encourage open and honest discussion.
3. Be empathetic
Empathy builds trust and is essential to good communication. You can work on your empathy by being an active listener. This involves being fully attentive, asking questions, and showing a genuine interest in what people have to say. And don’t forget your non-verbal cues. Maintaining eye contact, nodding, and uncrossing your arms helps convey an openness to other points of view.
4. Learn from mistakes
Look at mistakes as learning opportunities. When the team sees you applying lessons learned from failures, they will feel more confident and comfortable about taking risks.
5. Focus on continuous learning
Just because you are the leader doesn't mean you are exempt from learning. Whether it's communication or working on your delegation skills, there’s always some aspect of your practice to refine. Gain the respect of your employees by showing you’re also prepared to work on your skills.
6. Show employees your appreciation
Commit to appreciating your team members once a day. It could be a congratulatory email, a public thank you in a meeting, or a shoutout on your team chat. It's a surefire way to boost morale and develop commitment. And remember, what gets rewarded, gets repeated. Recognizing good performance encourages the team to achieve more.
Leadership Strategies and The PepTalk Platform
When it comes to improving leadership strategies at work, PepTalk has much to offer organizations and individuals. From Team Check-In to TeamTalk™ and the real-time data dashboard, our platform has all the tools leaders need to connect, communicate, motivate, and inspire their teams. Creating happier, safer, and more engaged employees.
Book a free demo today and explore PepTalk in action.