Here at The Recruitment Network we run several masterclasses and programmes on Leadership. From the one-day Next Generation Leadership Masterclass to the Recruitment Trailblazers Programme for upcoming Billing Managers.
We get a lot of questions on how you as a leader of a team or the owner of the business can inspire and lead your people. Recruitment is a people lead industry, and without a cohesive, motivated team in your own business you’re setting yourself up for potential failure further down the line.
So, we’ve got some tips for you on keeping your team in top form by being the best leader you can be.
1. Self-awareness and self-management
We have to earn the right to lead and be an inspirational role model for the behaviours and attitudes that we are looking for in others. Behaviour breeds behaviour. So, start with a To Be list (as opposed to a To Do list) and review yourself against this list of ideal behaviours and attitudes. Seek feedback from the team to understand what else would make you even more effective as a leader - without feedback, we’ll continue to have blind spots and be ignorant about how others perceive us. By seeking feedback and owning and sharing what we are working to improve we can expect the same of others.
2. Focus on the positives
Think about how you give feedback and what this feedback is on. Focusing on the negatives, or on what isn't completed will have a negative impact on performance. Instead, you need to make sure that you praise for the good things that they do so that these don’t get forgotten about. Make time to notice and reward the achievements of your team and the individuals within it. The research from the Corporate Leadership Council demonstrated that the focus on performance strengths (as opposed to performance weaknesses) could have a massive 63-point swing in performance.
Saying a simple ‘thank you’ when they have completed a task will make them feel appreciated and like a valued part of the team, which will keep them motivated and driven to do a good job.
3. Different strokes for different FOLKS
Everyone is different, and every situation is different so as a leader we need to adapt our approach according to:
- Personality (theirs)
- Their specific motivations
- The situation
Our ability to connect with, influence and engage others will depend on how effective we are at slowing down and deciding the best approach. Sticking to our preferred leadership style, not understanding individual motivations and always behaving and communicating in line with your natural personality will impact how effective we are.
4. Set expectations
‘I know what is expected of me’ is one of the top 2 most important statements that engage our people according to world-leading employee engagement specialists Gallup. Performance management, the ability to build a high performing team, relies on our ability to:
- Set expectations
- Communicate expectations
- Hold people to account
So, to what extent do your team understand what is expected of them? They will as salespeople know the financial performance expected of them. But do they know how they are expected to engage both personally and as team members, do they understand the attitudes and behaviours they are expected to adopt, do they know the client and candidate experience they are meant to deliver and do they know the critical activities that will deliver consistent performance? The greater clarity we provide, the more freedom we can give.
Outcome management enables individuals to align their activity and take personal responsibility for their energy and focus. As Covey said, start with the end in mind. Knowing the outcome of the day and the week will shape where we spend our time and what gets prioritised. How clear are your team members or you for that matter on what success looks like on a daily basis and how many VITs (very important things) have they achieved by the end of the week?
The clearer they are on outcomes and expectations the more you can be released to add even more value.
(Having said that autonomy doesn’t mean abandoning them and leaving them to it. You need to offer the right level of support and guidance that they need to do a good job without getting in their way.)
6. Collaboration and cooperation
Although we have said that it is good to give your team autonomy in their work, this does not mean they should be siloed and working alone. Working collaboratively with people in and outside our team is good and something you should encourage as a leader. Collaboration promotes innovation and amplifies success while reducing unnecessary risk.
Make sure that you learn from others too and don’t shy away from other leaders. You can learn a lot from watching and being around others in the same position, both the good and the bad – remember C.A.N.I. (continual and never-ending improvement) high-performers embrace. The fun happens outside your comfort zone.
Follow these simple leadership tips, and you’ll be on your way to being the best leader you can be to a successful team and inspiring sustainable performance.