Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes. If you asked 100 people what makes an effective leader, you’ll likely to get at least 50 different answers. There are many attributes that make a leader effective. However, there are three things all effective leaders do. These are what we call the three phases of leadership.
Here are my three phases of effective leadership:
Phase 1: Educate
First and foremost, the role of a leader is to educate. In order to have an effective team, the team must constantly be in learning mode. A leader must remember that even the most ambitious members of the team don’t know what they don’t know.
The leader has the responsibility to ensure that all members of the team have the opportunity to continue to learn and grow inside the company.
Challenged employees are more likely to stay with a company. Bored employees have all the time in the world for a job search.
Phase 2: Empower
Once a leader has educated the team on roles and responsibilities, it is a leader’s job to take a step back. Empower the team to step into their roles. Allow them room to discover their capabilities. They may even discover new products, ways to streamline a process, that they are capable or that they are ready for more responsibility.
An empowered employee is willing to take chances. It is in those chances that innovation is birthed. Innovation is the only way your business is going to move forward. Empower your employees and watch the incredible things they will produce.
New leaders are born in the empowerment phase.
Phase 3: Evaluate
Effective leaders are not afraid of confrontation. Providing feedback to course correct less than ideal behavior or performance means having what can be a difficult discussion. All confrontation does not have to be negative. If a leader is coming from a genuine place of education and concern for career enhancement, a difficult discussion can be well received by an employee.
When an employee understands that they will be evaluated regularly, not just once a year, they will be more likely to receive your input. Also, if you are providing an ongoing evaluation of performance, you’re likely dealing with one small issue at a time rather than providing an employee with a laundry list of things that they need to change at the end of the year.
Look at it like this… if someone hands you a long list of things to do on top of your already full schedule, are you likely to get them all done? Be honest. You are not likely to complete them all. Now, if someone gave you one thing to focus on with a full plate, could you rearrange some of your priorities to ensure that you have the time to focus on this one issue? I bet you could. The same is true for your employees.
An ongoing cycle of education, empowerment and evaluation creates an ongoing cycle of learning and growth; together as a team. That is effective leadership.
Ammie’s Assignment: Write down the last time you lead an employee through all three of these phases. If you can’t list all of your employee’s names, it’s time to devise a plan for implementing the 3 phases of leadership. If you get stumped, I’m just a click away. Let’s start a conversation about how you lead your team to success.