You hold all FOUR keys to unlocking leadership. Use them wisely.
Second of our five part series on Keys to Leadership Success – Be Supportive
The first of the four traits proven to be a key to leadership success is “be supportive”.*
I am not surprised at that, are you? How many times have you felt leaderless because you did not feel supported? It is a common issue across all levels, industries and locations.
“Be supportive” is not exactly easy to implement. As a leader, you have to balance accountability, driving execution, balancing all the inputs from the team, and support the team – and also support the individual. Every person is different, so there is no “one size fits all”. What one person needs is not what the next one needs. What you personally need is not necessarily what you need to offer.
So instead of struggling with the definition of “supportive”, focus on the active verb –“ be”. As you lead this week, informally or formally, focus on the “be”. What are you doing to intentionally “be” supportive? Next, focus on supporting the team to achieve their goals. Help your teammate by getting roadblocks out of the way. Work to understand what the frustration is and ask how can I help? If we all work to support, we will all feel supported. If you do something, anything, people will notice your effort (even if it is not the perfect “support” for them).
*Article|McKinsey Quarterly Decoding leadership: What really matters January 2015 | byClaudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan
Where’s Your Key?
Across the country, millions of dollars are spent on teaching people about leadership. MBAs, corporate training, self-help seminars and conferences all seem to sell the magic elixir for being a great leader. However the foundational question is – what really works? What are the key, most important skills that make a leader successful. Instead of learning / mastering 100 things, or keeping up with “the flavor of the month” – what is the secret key that unlocks successful performance.
We all want to get better, to grow. But we have a limited amount of time and money to invest in our development. Can someone please just tell us what really works?
McKinsey Quarterly shared information on a recent scientific study that targeted just this question. What they reported was “leaders in organizations with high-quality leadership teams typically displayed 4 of the 20 possible types of behavior; these 4, indeed, explained 89 percent of the variance between strong and weak organizations in terms of leadership effectiveness”.*
Whether you are in an informal leadership role or a formal one, focusing on four known traits that can change you from weak to strong is a great place to start focusing as the new year starts.
The traits are…
- Be supportive
- Operate with strong results orientation
- Seek different perspectives
- Solve problems effectively
Over the next four weeks we will explore some thoughts on these proven action oriented traits. My challenge to you is… as you go through leadership situations this next week, think about how you applied these four action oriented traits.
*Decoding leadership: What really matters, January 2015 | byClaudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan