How well do you know your team members? How well do they thrive in a virtual working world with limited to no physical encounters with working colleagues? How well are you equipped to support and motivate your team in these uncertain times?
A leader has a responsibility towards motivating, engaging, developing, and inspiring team members to enable them to perform at their best and thus achieve better results both short and longer term. Our virtual working world emphasizes the importance of demonstrating and “living” these soft skills more than ever. Though some believe these skills are easy to learn or have little impact on the success of a leader, think again. If a team does not trust their leader, feels unsupported or disconnected, this might lead to the loss of exceptionally talented people, core know-how, crucial knowledge and, not least, credibility as a leader.
Undoubtedly both 2020 and 2021 so far were challenging for most people, on different levels and different scales. As a leader, you may have experienced diverse behaviours during the year from your team members. Soft skills, like clear communication, active listening, powerful questioning, constructive feedback, effective delegation and more, are essential leadership and managerial skills. Those who excel at these skills are able (probably) to emerge successfully from these years, supporting, motivating and engaging their team members in a positive and constructive way.
If you lack experience in these skills, you may have to step up and round up your practice through training, with a coach, a mentor or a confidential peer. If you are not able to develop these skills, you may lose sight of your team members’ well-being, their needs, their challenges and, at worst, have them withdraw, burn out or leave the company because of it.
Before you start thinking about these practices, some self-reflection and self-awareness will help you understand where your strengths lie and where you might need to invest in more development. The same applies to understanding your team’s preferences, strengths and abilities to create a high performing team. The model created by Margerison-McCann Types of Work Wheel provides this exact information and helps you to work towards a common goal with a strongly connected team, understanding their strengths and development areas.
“We tend to PRACTISE what we PREFER and become more PROFICIENT in our preferred areas. This in turn gives us PLEASURE from our work.”
In the workplace, four key issues lie at the heart of what makes people prefer to work in different ways:
- How people prefer to relate to others
- How people prefer to gather and communicate this information
- How people prefer to make decisions
- How people prefer to organize themselves and others
Understanding the benefits and rewards of leading a high performing team is crucial and essential for an impactful and inclusive leader. Not only will it reward great leaders, but it will further enhance performance for the company, grow new leaders to strengthen sustainable leadership over time.
More than ever, being able to connect, relate and communicate with your team in a compassionate and engaging way, is a key factor to gain trust, which will lead to the success and well-being of all. This means knowing yourself first, understanding your strengths and potential growth areas to lead in an authentic and inclusive way.
Our entire lives, we go to a doctor, dentist and other professionals for regular check-ups. Why do we spend so little time thinking about developing our leadership skills on a continuous basis when we spend up to 80% of our life in a work environment? One life, one go…the time is now.
Discuss your development needs with your Human Resources professionals or with your coach, so you can offer the best of yourself to a team of motivated and engaged people, who, in return, will give you their best to make the company thrive. Learning never stops.
Professional coaching services can be found using ICF’s directory of credentialed coaches spread all over the world.
“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself. “ Abraham Maslow
To learn more about professional coaching and its organizational benefits, visit International Coaching Federation.
If you need support on your organisation’s and leader’s coaching journey, do contact us at ICF and our team of volunteers in South Africa will be happy to help.
Sonja Robinson, ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC) from Switzerland, is a multilingual and well-travelled individual, with profound business development, consulting and coaching experience in the talent management space, having worked for global blue chips such as McKinsey, FIFA, Right Management (Manpower Group) and Korn Ferry International. 12 years of voluntary leadership roles with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and a master’s degree in “Coaching and Consulting for Change” from Oxford SAID and HEC university support and deepen this expertise.
About the ICF:
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the world’s largest organization leading the global advancement of the coaching profession and fostering coaching’s role as an integral part of a thriving society. Founded in 1995, its 35,000-plus members located in more than 140 countries and territories work toward common goals of enhancing awareness of coaching and upholding the integrity of the profession through lifelong learning and upholding the highest ethical standards. Through the work of its six unique family organizations, ICF empowers professional coaches, coaching clients, organizations, communities and the world through coaching.
ICF South Africa is a Chartered Chapter of ICF with 480 members (May 2021 figures).
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