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12 Good Leadership Practices
Leadership Practices vs. Leadership Qualities
For any organization to succeed, it needs to have strong leadership. People who can manage their teams effectively in order to get the most productivity out of them are essential. But what makes a great leader?
We’ve talked about leadership qualities before, but there is another aspect that is just as important – leadership practices. But what’s the difference between the two?
Leadership behavioral qualities that a leader possesses – for example, empathy, charisma, confidence, etc. Leadership practices are actions and strategies leaders will take and implement in order to consistently help their team better themselves, and attain growth.
12 Good Leadership Practices
Here are 12 leadership practices that the best leaders should be actively doing.
1. Mentor relationships
While a good company culture includes room for employees to grow, good leaders will go above and beyond to provide training, support, and opportunities for their workers who show strong potential. Adapting your leadership style to best accommodate your best employees is an excellent example of a good leadership practice. Especially in today’s time, when many employees are struggling with the adaption to remote work, being a consistently strong and clear mentor and support system for employees is essential.
2. Promote relationships – not just competitiveness
While having some friendly competition among coworkers is not a bad thing, it certainly shouldn’t be the only measurement leaders look at when reviewing employees. A good leadership practice is one that fosters and encourages a good working relationship between employees. A good connection among team members will help with team-building, and will increase productivity over all.
3. Encourage employees to advance
A good leader is happy for their employees when they advance enough to take on new challenges and a new job. While high turnover of talent on any leader’s team is generally not something a leader strives for, succession of individuals and the betterment of the company talent pool is regarded as a success.
4. Take chances on people (within reason)
A good leadership practice is to not stay bound within certain limitations. When hiring, for example, a good leader should have the ability to see beyond just education on a resume. Potential employees who have proven themselves capable of accomplishing difficult tasks in other areas could prove to be positive additions to the team.
5. Always be on the lookout for new talent
Just because you don’t need to fill a position at the moment, doesn’t mean you should stop looking for new talent. Networking with prospective new employees is a great leadership practice, as it’s prudent to always have a backup plan. Meeting new people, knowing their strengths, and gauging their potential interest level in working for you one day will be very useful information to have when you are next looking to fill a position. Networking may be a challenge for some currently, given the isolation many organizations are feeling from their usual circles, but this doesn’t mean you should stop in your efforts of identifying new talent that will help the success of your business in the long-run.
6. Make your goals public
Any great leader who truly wants to succeed should have a series of clearly articulated goals that are viewed as priority. A critical leadership practice is to make the goals known amongst your entire team; share and establish clarity of direction as to how each direct report can support in the execution of these goals. When employees are aware of your goals as a leader, it allows them to reference it whenever they’re making decisions that will affect the company long-term, and also to understand what they’re working for, and why.
7. Give real-time feedback
While annual reviews – and more frequent ones – are important, it can also be very beneficial to give feedback in the moment. If something positive is accomplished, praise in the moment will elicit a desire to continue doing well. Similarly, catching bad work early on will make it much easier to correct and coach how to avoid it in the future. Especially when employees are feeling stuck and isolated from their team while working from home, staying consistent in your efforts to check in on their progress and accomplishments, and praise or provide constructive criticism when necessary, will help keep them feeling more involved and appreciated.
8. Compliment sandwich
This is a leadership practice that most people have heard of, and for good reason – it remains a very effective way of evaluating an employee’s performance. Essentially, it is a practice where the leader compliments or praises the employee for something they’ve done well. That is followed by a critique – something they didn’t do as well, or could work on more – and then another complimentary statement. The idea behind this is that it is easier to accept criticism if it is bookended by praise.
9. Reviews based on the company’s values
It’s easy to review employees based purely on metrics, but they don’t always tell the full story. A good leadership practice is to consider the company’s core values when evaluating how an employee has been performing. Often it is said that ‘It’s not just what you do but how you behave along the way’ that makes one truly successful.
One-on-ones are important for a variety of situations, including, coaching, feedback, and even just chatting to see how an employee is getting on. They allow you, as a leader, to form a deeper bond with each of your workers. One-on-one conversations can yield insight that may be missed in a group setting. It also provides opportunity for employees to express concerns they may have that they wouldn’t want to bring up in a public setting. Setting up one-on-ones when working remotely is not as challenging as some may think. With the use of current technology, you can make one-on-ones a permanent part of your business calendar, checking in with all your employees regularly despite not being in a shared working space.
11. Short, regular meetings to discuss issues
Some problems that spring up need to be solved quicker than others, and can’t wait for a yearly, quarterly review or even the weekly scheduled one-on-one. It’s a good business practice to set aside some time every day specifically dedicated to going over any issues that are affecting the company. These meetings can be short check-ins or lengthier meetings, depending on the need. Similar to one-on-ones, these can be easily incorporated into your business practices when working from home. Virtual meetings are one of the most widely used tools today, and for good reason. Take advantage of the benefits of the popular technology platforms and schedule regular, weekly virtual meetings with your team to maintain morale and encourage progress.
12. Trust your team to do the work
The best leadership practice a good leader can have is to trust their team to do the work they give them. Leaders should be able to effectively delegate the necessary tasks to the right employees. Trust is something that needs to be built over a period of time, and will be based on an employee’s ability to do the work they’re given, the responsibility they take on, the relationships they form with their team, and more.
Good Leadership Practices Make a Big Difference
When defining what makes a good leader, one has to look not only at good leadership qualities, but also at leadership practices. The best leaders know how to get the most out of their teams, and are confident enough to employ the methods necessary.