Leadership Skills

3 Things Managers Must Do to Fuel Clarity and Understanding

3 Things Managers Must Do to Fuel Clarity and Understanding
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images

Building companies requires the know-how to build long-lasting teams. This is why most managers never become leaders and why most leaders never reach the highest pinnacle of leadership success. To reach that pinnacle requires the ability to master the “art of people” and knowing how to mobilize and lead hundreds (if not thousands) of those people at the right place and at the right time. It means knowing how each person thinks and how to best utilize their unique competencies. It means playing a continuous chess match, knowing that every wrong move can cost the company more than money but reputation and future opportunities.

Leaders like that create environments that fuel clarity and understanding and demand direct and honest feedback. They constantly and consistently define and communicate the expectations for their own leadership—and encourage their immediate direct reports to do the same. They create cultures that promote collaboration so they can build ecosystems of intellectual capital that propel innovation and initiative.

To achieve the level of clarity and understanding that propels the rest of these things, here are three things you must do as a manager:

1. Be Proactive with Feedback

Feedback is the key to ensuring any team stays on track, but more importantly that it is improving each day. Feedback should be proactive and constant. Many leaders are prone to wait until a problem occurs before they give feedback or for a postmortem when things fail. Feedback is simply the art of great communication regardless of the situation. It should be something that is part of your everyday natural dialogue, formally and informally. In fact, if feedback becomes too structured and stiff, it becomes difficult for it to be seen as authentic and impactful. And remember: Every team member is different, with his or her own unique nuances and dynamics. Treat them as such. No cookie-cutter approach allowed. Finally, after taking the time to remind someone of how and what they can be doing better, learn from them; feedback is two-way communication.

2. Acknowledge and Reward

With proactive feedback comes acknowledgment and reward. People love recognition but are most appreciative of respect. Take the time to give your teammates the proper accolades they have earned and deserve. I have seen too many leaders take performance for granted because they don’t believe that one should be rewarded for “doing their job.” But when people are acknowledged, their work brings them greater satisfaction and becomes more purposeful. At a time when people want to feel as if they are making a difference, be a thoughtful leader and reassure your team that you are paying attention to their efforts. Being genuine in your recognition and respect goes a long way towards building loyalty and trust. It organically ignites extra effort!

3. Always Celebrate Success

I have seen too many leaders fall into the trap of self-aggrandizement – because of what their teams accomplished – rather than celebrating the success stories that in many cases required tremendous effort, sacrifice, and perseverance. At a time when uncertainty is the norm, you must take the time to celebrate success. This goes beyond acknowledgment – it’s about taking a step back and reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you have learned throughout the journey. In today’s fast-paced, rapidly changing world of work, people must take the time to understand why they were successful and how their success reverberated and positively impacted those around them. After all, a celebration is often a short-lived activity before the next “game” arrives. So don’t ignore it. Take the time to live in the moment and remember what allowed you to cross the finish line.

Leaders are only as successful as their teams and the great ones know that with the right team dynamics, decisions and diverse personalities operating with clear and understood goals and priorities, everyone wins in the end.