Women excel in leadership roles, and with the business world changing fast in the face of a growing Millennial and Gen Z workforce, there is a demand for changing leadership styles.
Millennial and Gen Z workers don’t respond to the same leadership styles their predecessors did. The things that are the most important to them are making a difference, growing personally and professionally, and being worthwhile to the company they work for (on top of the normal considerations like being paid well, solid benefits, and not being overworked into burnout).
Women leaders are often more successful with these team members because they are socialized to have the soft skills to know when to push their people, when to give them space, and when they need a pick-me-up. While these soft skills are gaining speed as non-negotiables for leadership positions, they are actually growth hacks that create solid company cultures, producing loyal employees and increased profits.
Here are the top leadership growth hacks and soft skills that you need to implement to get the best out of your employees.
Whether or not you hate the participation trophy, there is data supporting that collaboration over competition yields better results for companies. According to Salesforce, “86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures”.
By facilitating collaboration both as a value and a process, companies are able to create more success, supersede goals, and build stronger relationships. Collaboration also lends itself to helping employees and executives work on their communication skills, drive innovation, and support creative problem solving.
When you create a culture where people aren’t afraid to share their ideas because the core of the company rewards collaboration and sharing, it takes away some of the pressure from your people needing to present “the right” idea or solution.
Empathy is not actually caring about your people (although that’s a major plus). Empathy is about being able to step into the experience, perspective, and emotional life of your team to understand them on a deeper level. When you have the ability to do this, you make stronger and healthier decisions for your team.
Old leadership styles required team members to show up and give their all under some of the most difficult circumstances. While hard work should be rewarded, it shouldn’t be at the cost of your employees health or wellbeing. That’s how you develop a burnout-rich culture, which can have dire mental, emotional, and physical consequences.
New leadership styles take into consideration how their teams work best. There’s a growing number of flexible, unlimited time off benefits packages. There are companies who are paying for their employees’ vacations and consistent professional development.
When you learn how to see and feel things from your team’s perspective, the choices you make will change—and so will your churn rate.
Women are taught to communicate about their feelings young. They’re also taught how to create intimacy through one-on-one communication. This makes it easier for women leaders to develop trust with employees and get them to open up about what’s going on in the company or their lives.
This is incredibly valuable because when you foster open communication, you can see problems coming before they land and implement solutions so that any fallout is minimized. You can also motivate your team more effectively because you’ll understand what makes each employee produce their best work.
To implement stronger communication skills among your team, invest in their communication and leadership training. It’s vital for your team to be able to talk with each other, not just leadership. This can reduce arguments, ego flare ups, and miscommunications that can lead to setbacks.
Awareness and Observation
Being aware of your surroundings and the people around you is something that makes all the difference as a leader. Is someone on your team having a bad day, or is one of your best producers all of a sudden not making their numbers? Is there some tension in the office? Do you ever see one employee by themselves, without interacting with the rest of their team?
There are many things to pay attention to, and it’s the difference between catching a problem early or being blindsided with a major issue like losing your most talented engineer, being late on a multi-million dollar project, or being sued for workplace bullying and harassment.
As a leader, you’re responsible for the many, and while you can’t do all of the things and wear all of the hats, you can pay attention to your people. That includes implementing systems and processes for your other executives and leadership team members to increase their awareness and observation of your employees too. This helps you keep a pulse on the heart of your company—your people.