One size doesn’t fit all in leadership

Nowadays, we expect customisation to fit our specific needs in many areas of life. Thanks to streaming services, we can select from a vast range of entertainment choices. No one bats an eyelid if we order a large soy cappuccino, extra shot, extra hot, extra chocolate on top with extra froth on the side. (You know who you are.) We don’t even mind if it takes longer for the salad to come out – as long they take out the coriander!

This mindset also applies to leadership. Nowadays, your employees expect you to customise your interactions to suit their specific needs. From the person in the corner with their head down, barely speaking and diligently working to meet their deadlines, to the person in the office who immediately spreads joy whenever they enter a room. Both will interact with you quite differently – yet both of these employees expect you to personalise your interactions and treat them as individuals. But when you’re stretched for time and resources, it’s easy to fall into the trap of treating everyone the same.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to leadership. But you can take steps to create more personalised, meaningful interactions – and make your employees feel they are seen, heard, and valued.

Hr leadership the people practice

The following are behaviours and traits shared by all great leaders

Demonstrate compassion and empathy

Listen to your employees, give them your full attention, and watch for non-verbal clues about what they might not be saying. Then, no matter if work-related or personal, assist in resolving their issues if you can. If you can’t, let them know you are there for them and will help them where you can. By demonstrating your care and understanding, you show that your team members are valued and wanted by you and your organisation.

It's proven that if an employee feels happy and fulfilled at home, it will positively impact their work performance. Understand their personal circumstances (yet be respectful of their boundaries) and ensure they know that they have a support network at work – and it will yield positive benefits for your organisation. It may be working out a flexible work arrangement, or permitting a bring-your-dog-to-work day. Within all interactions, cultivate authentic compassion and empathy, and show you genuinely care.

Inspire and motivate others

Action speaks louder than words, and inspirational leaders must do what they say. It’s not enough to simply say that you are committed to your organisation, or your company’s vision. You need to demonstrate it with your passion and enthusiasm for your work and your employees – and just like planning your wedding, everyone will want to be involved.

Motivating others starts with having and believing in a purpose – then communicating and sharing your enthusiasm to enable others to feel it too. Celebrate your team members’ successes, and motivate others to reach their own goals. Be a positive influence in your workplace, and you will inspire and motivate others to work more effectively and towards a common purpose.

Engage in servant leadership

We love this leadership style because it ties into our people-first focus at The People Practice! As an emerging HR trend, servant leadership is a new approach to working with employees. The traditional organisation hierarchy is out the door – with a new emphasis on sharing a more equal and collaborative relationship between leaders and employees. But don’t let the title put you off – you won’t be fanning your team with palm fronds and feeding them grapes! But you will make your employees feel more personally and professionally fulfilled - thus enabling them to work more efficiently and productively.

Servant leadership also means that you are always actively seeking ways to empower your team, recognising their worth as trusted and vital parts of your organisation. You look for meaningful ways to collaborate, consult, and help them grow within their roles and beyond. You understand their developmental and learning needs, and seek to provide each team member with the most productive working environment for their maximum efficiency.

It takes time to get used to the idea of servant leadership - for not only yourself but also your employees. But, keep at it – the rewards are hugely beneficial for your culture and also for your bottom line.

It’s not about you – but it is about you

At the core of all these great traits is you – and your ability to evaluate and assess yourself objectively. Self-assessment is the process of genuine reflection on your performance – forcing you out of your everyday work bubble to take a hard look at your own professional journey. It’s an opportunity to celebrate your own success – and understand how you achieved that success – and to also reflect and learn from your challenging periods.

Self-assessment – what you've done – goes hand in hand with self-awareness – what you know about yourself. To develop self-awareness at work, you need to comprehend how you and your traits, habits, and abilities affect your interactions within your company.

Now that you're equipped with both self-awareness and self-assessment. You can now apply what you know about yourself against what you've done – how your strengths contributed to your success, and how your habits may have let you down.

You need to be brutally honest with yourself for this process to be truly effective. It can be difficult to confront your shortcomings. But the process will enable you to understand where you can improve and take measures to overcome your weaknesses while using your strengths effectively in the workplace. And as a leader, you can empower your employees to do the same.

Renée x

I don’t have these traits! I need help!

Anyone can be a leader, but we’re not always prepared for it. Or we may not understand the complexities of leading a group of people – all with their own learning methods and ways of interacting and coping.

The People Practice can help you understand your own leadership style, and cultivate the traits and skills to foster a welcoming work environment that inspires the best from your employees.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to leadership – so make sure you understand each of your team members and how to best communicate with them. Talk to us today for your own tailored leadership strategy – and create genuine connections in your organisation to inspire change for the better.

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