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Posts made in December 2018

Can Introverts Be Great Leaders?

We tend to think of leaders as people who are naturally gregarious, charismatic, and outgoing. In reality, you don’t have to be an extrovert to be an inspiring and effective leader. In fact, people of all personality types can exhibit good leadership qualities.

If you’re someone who tends to be quiet and inward-focused, you are not precluded from becoming an engaged leader. Here are some guidelines we recommend for transforming your introversion into savvy leadership.

How Introverts Can Become Effective Leaders

  1. Focus on relationships. Extroverts tend to do well in big groups, but introverts can be comfortable and successful facilitating one-on-one relationships. Get to know the people you’re working with as individuals. Spend time with them, getting to know their goals and challenges. Foster trust in these one-on-one relationships.
  2. Be a good listener. You might be surprised by how powerful this can be. Your team members want to feel like their ideas are really heard—and if you can practice active listening, that goes a long way toward building trust and earning buy-in from your employees.
  3. Ask lots of questions. Introverts don’t always like to do the talking—and the good news is, you really don’t have to. Often, asking some open-ended questions to get other people talking is all you need to do. Allow your team members to do the heavy lifting, weighing in with their own ideas and perspectives.
  4. Take it offline. In many team settings, brainstorming happens all together, in a big group—but if you’re an introvert, that can be overwhelming. Encourage “offline” brainstorming with individuals or small groups. Have everyone work on ideas before the big meeting to make things more manageable, and to ensure contributions from people of all personality types.
  5. Set boundaries for yourself. Introverted leaders can often be overwhelmed by the needs of their employees, so create some boundaries around your time. Encourage people to email you or make an appointment, rather than showing up unannounced. And schedule some time when you can be alone in your office for some quiet work time. Just make sure to also schedule some open office hours, ensuring you’re accessible to your team members.
  6. Know how to recharge. Finally, make sure you know what recharges your batteries—whether that’s half an hour at the gym or simply 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation in your office—and take advantage of it. It’s okay to need a little time for personal replenishment!

With these tips, you can be an able leader even if you tend toward introversion. To learn more about perfecting your leadership approach, contact us at Loeb Leadership Development Group today.

How to Keep Talented Employees on Board

Losing a star performer always hurts. Not only because it is a blow to our own egos, it can also have a substantive impact on the organization. Pragmatically speaking, identifying, hiring, and training a replacement can be cumbersome and expensive.

That’s why managers strive to increase employee retention, especially where A-listers are concerned. And yet, these can be the very employees you’re most likely to lose. Big talents who have little trouble finding good offers elsewhere, and who may be itching to take on more responsibilities and new challenges.

With that said, there are some ways in which you can show these employees you value them, and to illustrate they have long-term opportunities on your team. Here are a few strategies.

Keeping Your Best Employees in the Fold

Practice active listening. It may sound facile, but it’s really true: Listening makes a big difference! Your employees have ideas and opinions, and they want to be heard. As a manager, work on active listening skills, providing genuine engagement when they are expressing their ideas.

Don’t be punitive. Even your star employees will fall flat sometimes. In fact, they’re more likely to fail because they’re the ones who take risks and try new things. Encourage that attitude; don’t punish employees who show initiative by demonstrating innovation, but ultimately come up short. This is a great opportunity to guide them in a constructive manner. This also illustrates your commitment to their growth and development.

Be mission-minded. One thing that all employees want is to feel like their work matters. Communicate openly with your top performers to show them what the big picture is, and how their work is critical to the team as a whole. Make sure they know they make a difference, and are part of something bigger than themselves.

Foster education. Look for opportunities to educate and train your team—whether that means sending them to a conference or arranging in-house training opportunities. Let them know that you want to help them grow, flourish, and become the best they can be.

Give responsibility. Finally, remember that top performers like to be challenged and stretched. Do not allow them to be complacent, as they may grow restless and look elsewhere. Provide new opportunities for them to show leadership and take the lead on big projects.

You can’t make your top performers stay, but you can provide an inspiring culture that will encourage them, make them feel valued, and part of a shared mission. These steps can point you in the right direction.

If you’re having a hard time with retention, there may be some shifts required in your management approach. We’d love to offer some suggestions. Reach out to Loeb Leadership Development Group today and let’s talk!

 

Does Your Company Culture Welcome Fresh Ideas?

Innovation is the driving force for most successful businesses. If you rest on your laurels and lean heavily on convention, your company is never going to grow—and in fact, it may become stagnant.

As a leader, part of your job is coming up with new perspectives and forward-thinking ideas. Even more importantly, is your willingness to consider ideas from your team, and to create an environment in which people feel comfortable brainstorming, thinking out loud, and trying new ways of doing things.

The question is, are you doing what is needed to nurture this culture?

Building a Culture That Welcomes New Ideas

Allow people to make mistakes. If there’s no room for error then there can be no room for innovation. Your team members need to feel like they can take big swings and not be penalized if things don’t quite work the way they planned. Instead of berating employees for failed efforts, commend them for trying—and help them figure out what went wrong and what can be learned from the experience.

Let people disagree. Nobody likes tension in the workplace, but sometimes there can be value in letting a couple of your employees debate the merits of particular ideas. Allow your team members to sharpen one another and have productive conflict. Give them space to bounce ideas off one another, without feeling like you have to rush in and play the role of peacemaker.

Have an open-door policy. Simple: Let your employees see that they can come talk with you individually any time they have an idea. Welcome their feedback, and give them a space to share ideas away from the larger group.

Ask for input. Again, it sounds simple, but you’d be amazed by how few leaders actually ask their employees for feedback and for ideas. Always be vocal in saying that you want to hear from the team. And, when you hear a new idea, listen with an open mind. That doesn’t mean you have to act on it, but at least show it some respect.

Embrace Ideas from Your Team

The most successful companies are the ones that embrace new ideas. Your team members probably have a lot of those—but are you receptive to them? Make sure your culture is one that rewards innovation and creativity.

We’d love to talk with you more about ways in which you can welcome new ideas at your company. Reach out to Loeb Leadership Development Group and let’s talk together about team- and culture-building!