Skip to content

UXL Blog

Creating Successful Leaders

Category Archives: Leadership

Work team

NOW 50% Off: MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

So, you’re leading a team or spearheading a project. You’re so wrapped up in what you’re doing, that you don’t even consider pausing and evaluating your leadership style. You just press forward and hope you’re doing a decent job. But…what if you’re not? Or, what if you can’t even tell?

Either way, it’s time to pause. It’s time to think about your place as a leader, and whether or not you’re supporting and empowering the people around you.

By making a concerted effort to evaluate your leadership, you are making an investment. People respond to good leadership, and when you have a responsive, engaged team, you have the potential to achieve better results with greater efficiency. Not only that, you might find that the office atmosphere improves—solid leadership has the power to make people feel uplifted, supported, and part of a healthy, communicative team.

To begin evaluating your personal leadership, you may want to work with a leadership coach. An experienced coach can help you uncover some of your blind spots and guide you in creating healthy changes. If, however, you want to begin your leadership evaluation on your own, you may want to start by asking yourself the following 7 questions:

1. Do I actively promote open communication?

Creating an open line of communication is crucial. People need to feel like they can bring forth any new ideas, complaints, or feedback. Without open communication, your team could devolve into a gossiping, afraid-to-come-forward mess.

2. Do I understand what motivates each team member?

It’s important to “get the right butts in the right seats.” If you want a motivated, enthusiast team, take the time to understand what makes people tick.

3. Do I understand what each team member dreads?

On the other side of the coin, it’s a good idea to understand what each person on your team does not like to do. It’s torturous for extroverted, sociable people (Yellow Energy on the Insights Discovery chart) to be cooped up in an office by themselves, analyzing data. And it’s not fun for an introverted deep thinker to be forced into making a quick decision.

NOTE: If you’re unsure of the communication preferences of your team members, consider tapping into a program like Insights Discovery. Ask me more about this if you’re interested—I’m a Licensed Practitioner.

4. Does my leadership brand include transparency and authenticity?

Trust is a huge part of leadership. If you’re standoffish or come across as inauthentic, people won’t place their trust in you (and it’s difficult to lead a team when there’s no trust). Instead, aim to connect with others on a human level. Don’t be afraid to be your wonderful, authentic you.

5. Do I make objectives clear?

If your team isn’t working toward a shared vision, they’re going to flounder. Establish your big-picture goals and keep them top of mind. Make sure your team feels involved in working toward your goals.

6. Does everyone on the team have a voice? Is everyone included and engaged?

If certain people on your team are falling through the cracks, you may want to consider how to bring them back to the table. During meetings, ask the quieter team members for their thoughts. Make sure everyone’s voice is represented.

Also: Be a good listener!

7. Am I willing to draw a line in the sand?

If there are people on your team who are repeatedly turning in subpar work or missing deadlines, that hurts the entire team and it makes people upset and annoyed. As a leader, you have to be willing to draw a line in the sand and take disciplinary action when it’s required. It’s never easy to do this, but my D4 feedback model can help.

How is your leadership looking? Does it need a little work? Simply acknowledging the areas in which you need to improve is a huge step! Once you know where to concentrate your efforts, you can begin making any changes that need to be made to become a better, more compassionate leader.

If you’d like to work side-by-side on improving your leadership, please let me know.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW 50% Off: MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

Tags: , , , , ,

Two women having coffee

Mentoring might seem like a one-sided deal on the surface. You put your heart and soul into training a new hire, you meet with them and provide resources, you answer questions. It all seems very time-consuming and, perhaps, a little annoying, BUT what if I told you mentoring is not a one-sided deal? What if I told you both parties—you and your mentee—benefit from your relationship?

Note: Ultimately, mentoring is about building up confidence and skills in another person. It’s not a selfish act. As a mentor, you’ll put in a few extra hours and some extra effort. A good mentor truly cares about nurturing and guiding their mentee.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few benefits for you! If you’re on the fence about mentoring, these 3 unlikely benefits might push you toward doing it:

1. It’s a chance to set a precedence

If you think the office is in need of some changes, you can set a new precedence with your mentee. If you think there’s too much gossip, a poor work ethic standard, or too many people handing in their assignments after they’re due, NOW is the time to start changing that. Helping instill good habits in your mentee not only helps them in the long run, but improves the office overall.

2. It can reveal knowledge gaps

One of the best ways to prove you know your stuff is to explain what you do to others. If you find you can’t answer all your mentees’ questions or cannot fully explain a certain aspect of your job, that might mean you need to brush up on that particular area.

By the way, if your mentee stumps you with a question, don’t fudge an answer. That’s doing both of you a disservice. Instead, use this as an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and learn something new.

3. It builds your reputation

If you volunteer to be a mentor, you’re demonstrating that you’re willing to go the extra mile to help the company. You also position yourself as a leader—someone who knows their stuff well enough to tutor others. Building this kind of reputation is not only good for your standing in the office, but also makes you more promotion-worthy.

Aside from the benefits I listed, mentoring can be a rewarding endeavor in itself. Helping someone learn and grow within your company is the kind of valuable work that can’t be assigned a price. Mentoring might give you a few personal benefits, but ultimately, it’s about building the competencies and instilling confidence in a new co-worker.

Tags: , , , , ,

hand writing on paper with coffee

Our nation is going through a time of unprecedented hardship and fear. In an effort to quell the COVID-19 virus that is spreading like wildfire, many of us are hunkering down at home and only going out for necessities. Though some of our activities might be moved into the virtual space, we all know that isn’t the same. All this alone time can feel isolating and downright scary, but it doesn’t have to be totally terrible.

You have the power to make alone time YOUR time.

Think of it this way: What other time in your life has allowed you to have so much autonomy and control over your schedule? You don’t have to make a long commute; you don’t have people popping into your office every five minutes and interrupting your work flow. Sure, you might be dealing with babysitting your kids at home or working alongside your significant other, but I would still argue that you have an unprecedented opportunity.

How will you use all your newfound “home time?”

I am a big proponent of setting aside time for yourself. Even though you inevitably have other responsibilities, be sure to allot a few minutes every day (even an hour, if you can) that’s dedicated to YOU.

Practice reflection, journaling, or meditation. Think about what you want your personal and professional life to look like after this is all over, and make plans for how you’d like to get there. Perhaps, your plans involve self-improvement steps, such as reading professional development books (I’m planning on putting together a list for my next blog post) or taking online courses.

If learning a new skill (such as coding, video-making, or writing) is part of your personal development plan, you might consider doing a little research to see what, exactly, you need to learn and how you can learn it. Reach out to those who already have these skills, and request resources. Or, you might try combing through an online course bank, such as Udemy or Teachable.

If leadership is part of your personal development plan, try interviewing leaders in your community OR start taking an online leadership course (My 10-Minute Leadership Challenge course is now 50% off to make it more accessible during this troubling time).

No matter which personal development skills you choose to pursue during this time, it is important you make a plan AND stick to it. When you’re at home, it’s easy to let the days drift away in clouds of social media or television. Don’t let that be you! I want you to emerge from this time period, feeling empowered and equipped with a new set of skills to further your professional goals.

If you’re going to be stuck in isolation, you might as well make the most of your time. You’ve got this!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW LIVE: CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: