Top Two Things in Leadership

By Cheryl Viola, Executive Director, MBA

Leadership Author, Courtney Lynch said “Leadership is really about the ability to do two things very well.

  1. How well you influence outcomes.
  2. How you inspire others.

If you are not seeing the outcomes in yourself or your team it is time to evaluate why.

  • Are you being negative?
  • Do you make discouraging remarks in jest?
  • Do you build up your team’s strengths?
  • Do you make team members feel valued?
  • Do you as a leader continue to learn and improve your leadership style?

Influencing and inspiring others starts with choosing the words and phrases we use carefully.  Express gratitude and appreciation and promote the team’s strengths.

Someone recently shared that the entire team was feeling pressured by the supervisor to always sell. The leader’s mantra was “sell, sell, sell.” Everyone regardless of the industry sells products or services to customers.  The members of the team felt they were not heard or valued. If you have a leader who is always pessimistic, team members should feel confident enough to ask questions like:

  • What suggestions do you have to help me be more successful in selling?”
  • “I understand that the goals are more sales, please help me come up with a more effective approach to reach those goals.”

Choosing your wording will allow the opportunity to open a dialogue that provides brainstorming and coaching opportunities.

Leaders that influence outcomes have learned to:

  • Make others feel safe to speak-up
    • Successful leaders encourage others to voice their opinions. To cultivate a successful team, team members need to feel that they can contribute their thoughts and ideas without ridicule. All team members need to listen to others respectfully.

I have found the one thing that can break a team is when team members do not feel they can share with others. I had the experience where Team member 1 finished speaking, Team member 2 started to speak and Team Member 1, instantly started to speak over Team Member 2. This action did several things, team member 2 was devalued, team member 1 appeared arrogant, and controlling, and it destroyed the trust in the rest of the team as no one else felt they could safely speak up.  

  • Ask questions and seek counsel.
    • Successful leaders ask questions and seek counsel all the time.  Have a thirst for knowledge and constantly learn new things. When we are challenged and stretched it provides growth.
  • Lead by example.
    • Successful leaders practice what they preach and are mindful of their words and actions.
  • Show Appreciation and Exude Kindness.
    • Solid teams make work look effortless. Successful leaders are thankful and genuine in their words.

No one succeeds on their own. Successful leaders are humble and recognize the efforts that everyone makes which makes the team look good. Never be stingy with appreciation.

When we are not seeing the outcomes, we desire we need to pause and evaluate why isn’t it working. What can be changed to correct the situation? One person can transform the negative environment into a results-oriented team. What will you choose to do?