By implementing three simple actions – listening, accepting responsibility and giving encouragement – you will see big a big change in your leadership skills.
Whether or not we realize it, our days are filled with assessing and measuring. We do this with our email inboxes, bank accounts and to-do lists, but how often do we appraise our leadership efforts?
Contrary to what you may think, leadership isn't a trait we’re born with, but one that is honed, developed and practiced throughout our entire life – much like a habit. According to research by the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes an average of 66 days to create a habit. How many hours are you spending intentionally exercising better leadership?
If you're feeling off your leadership game lately or looking for ways to be more of a leader on your team, consider the words you're using in your daily interactions. Here are some phrases that can carry powerful positive weight.
1. "Tell me more about that."
You've just opened your email inbox on Monday morning when your colleague arrives and says hello. You typically exchange distracted small talk as you mentally prepare for the day ahead. But what if you actually listened to your colleague this time instead?
A colleague who can hold eye contact, takes an interest in others' personal matters and makes enjoyable, easy conversation is a triple combination to being generally well-liked and respected. Others may then feel comfortable coming to you with questions, problems or solutions. When you picture the ideal leaders you know, don't they share these attributes?
2. "It was me!"
If there's no such thing as a perfect person, then why are we so afraid of failure? Taking responsibility for your mistakes is not fun, but it's necessary to practicing good leadership because it reveals you care more about building your character than protecting it. Great leaders understand that it's impossible to be perfect, and by vocalizing your imperfections, you are giving others the freedom to do the same.
On the flip side, when you achieve something awesome, don’t be afraid to let everyone know that you worked hard to contribute to the success of the team and company. Finding opportunities to practice humility in both circumstances will challenge and grow your leadership.
3. "Well done."
When it comes to feedback, we all want it, but how much do we actually give and receive it? The power of positive feedback in the workplace is astounding. Around 69 percent of employees saying they would work harder if their efforts were better recognized, according to this study.
As leaders, it’s up to us to encourage our employees to be the best they can be. See or hear someone doing something to help the team? Take a second to tell them "great job!" Reviewing a junior employee's work? Leave a positive note after your constructive criticism. Do you have a way for employees to recognize each other at work? Consider starting a kudos board, where peers can give positive feedback to each other, and watch your office engagement soar.
These action steps aren't monumental, but they're extremely meaningful. Listening, accepting responsibility and giving encouragement are small acts that can add up to a big change in your leadership skills.