While many people are given the title of leader, a lot of them don’t elicit results because they don’t communicate in a way that inspires action and results.
Having studied leaders for several years, there are three distinct behaviors that I see real, impactful leaders engage in.
Leaders rely on constructive communication
Good leaders communicate in a way that elevates people instead of tearing others down. These leaders seek to solve problems and create long-term solutions. When their focus is on improvement they speak openly, honestly and consistently. They always have their eye on progress and success.
Constructive communication drives performance. Its foundation is that the employee is capable and driven but has run into a snag. Working with them on that snag with a goal of removing it leads to greater results. When someone is guided to identifying why something has happened and how they can change, they are likely to embrace the lessons and grow as an impactful member of the team.
People who communicate destructively have changed the goal. Whether they realize it or not, their focus is on making someone else feel small. When people feel small – they don’t perform to the height of their ability. They are not motivated to succeed.
Leaders aren’t afraid to ask for input
True leaders seek the input of others. They understand that they don’t have all of the answers — that leadership isn’t about having all of the answers, it’s about finding the answers. Leaders also understand that one of the ways they grow their staff is to ask for their input.
When you include others in the conversation, you are telling them you trust them and believe in them. Leaders understand that not all input will be actionable. That’s not the point. The point is to get everyone thinking about growth, solutions and success. Better to solicit their input than to always be telling them. People respond to being communicated with more than being talked to. They are also more likely to follow through with a plan they have had a role in creating.
Leaders say the hard thing
There are times when a staff member is unable to meet the requirements and goals of the organization no matter how hard they try. And, truly, there are times when an employee isn’t a fit or is behaving in a way that is contrary to the goals of the company. A true leader addresses this situation directly with the employee. A true leader doesn’t emotionally react to the issue by sending a blast email to all of the team members. A true leader also doesn’t avoid dealing with it.