These leadership principles have been widely recognised as a key factor in achieving success, writes Marcel Schwantes
In my speaking engagements and courses, I always emphasise the practical side of leadership, which is really about elevating the people doing the work. We’re talking about the kind of leadership that is rooted in emotional intelligence and driven by a genuine desire to make people (and yourself) better.
This form of leadership is not about being a boss; it’s about being a mentor, a facilitator, a humble and trusted guide, and someone your team genuinely respects. Be warned: It’s counterintuitive to lead in this manner.
But once you acclimate to the behaviours, you’ll know whether you are truly fit to lead other human beings. Let’s explore three key habits of leadership that will impact your team’s performance for the better.
Seek input from those you manage
When it comes to workers on the frontlines, leaders must keep in mind that deskless employees (those in food service, hospitality, health care, etc.) are not children and should always be treated like professional colleagues and not just as ‘worker bees’.
Truth is, many of them across the organisation are more proficient at the function of their job role than their direct reports.
To illustrate, I caught up with Greg Gorgone, COO at Pineapple Academy, a next-generation video training platform for frontline staff.
Gorgone shared that to implement new or revised processes or find ways to increase financial viability, “leaders must engage their team members by explaining what the situation is, why it should be addressed, and ask them for their ideas.” He added, “Often, they are more aware of a situation and already know how to solve the problem.”
If you want to foster high trust, high risk-taking, and high creativity, consider hopping off the ivory tower of ‘command and control’ for the higher road of releasing your control over people and delegating effectively.
Because when you do, your team will have your back, unleash discretionary effort, and do amazing work.
“Delegation stands as the cornerstone of efficiency (and leads to living an authentic life),” writes Robb Holman, global speaker and best-selling author of ‘Lead the Way’.
To practice what Holman calls “smart delegation”, managers must hire the very best people and delegate authority to their strengths. When they do so, they will create a trust-based, decentralised place of work, which can also save a company money.
“Leaders must be willing to release specific tasks and responsibilities if they want to be efficient,” says Holman. “Once we release control, it’s one of the most liberating feelings in the world.”
Be passionately curious
Albert Einstein famously said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Curiosity is a fundamental human trait that drives exploration, learning, and the desire to understand the world around us. It plays a crucial role in driving progress in various fields.
Curiosity leads to experimentation, and experimentation is the foundation of innovation. In psychologically safe workplaces, curious people play a crucial role in sparking innovation and driving progress.
It prompts those individuals to explore new ideas and possibilities. By asking questions and seeking answers, curious people are motivated to challenge existing knowledge and look for better solutions. This exploration often leads to discovering new perspectives, insights, and opportunities.
Marcel Schwantes is a leadership expert and coach helping organisations develop high-performing work cultures through servant leadership.
This article was originally published in the original United States edition of Inc. and is published with permission.