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Inspired leadership: 5 ways to engage others

Many seem to find it difficult to define what it means to lead in the workplace. Is it because there are so few role models … especially for immigrants who are looking for examples of people who have gone through similar experiences as them? Leadership in Canada starts with effective communication skills. Want to learn to become a leader? Here are five basic principles that, when applied, will inspire others to be more, do more and achieve more.

1.   Create an environment that gives others a voice

Get curious to know what others think, feel and want to say. Check in regularly with your colleagues, using whatever medium is available. Encourage others to voice their opinions in a respectful way and be constructive. Using systematic rounds in meetings will give everyone a chance to speak up, but set some boundaries around time and listening to each other without interrupting. Listen with 100 per cent of your attention and be at ease when they speak.

2.   Facilitate a dialogue that empowers others to think for themselves

Not everyone knows how to think independently. Practise asking good questions to get the brain focused. Avoid using “Why …?” questions too often, as the response can be defensive. In meetings, put your agenda items in the form of a question that you want people to comment on. Refrain from giving advice too soon or making all the decisions. Remember it can take a while for someone to learn to think for themselves and find their own answers.

3.   Share your expectations, making them realistic and clear

Often employees are not clear about their goals, or the ground rules, so they invest their time and energy doing what they think is right. While it can be time-consuming to communicate expectations, it’s time well spent. The alternative is to assume others know, or expect them to read your mind — and neither of these approaches is effective. Of course if your expectations are unrealistic, employees will tend to ignore them or will be stressed trying to meet them. This can result in a disengaged workforce and high turnover or absences.

4.   Create trustworthy relationships to welcome feedback

People avoid asking for feedback for a variety of reasons. Often we feel it is unnecessary and sometimes we assume that we’ll hear something we won’t like or agree with. Many are reluctant to give feedback because they fear reprisals or worry that it’ll cause conflict. Often we avoid saying anything because we simply don’t know how to say it, especially when it’s not entirely positive. Trust is at the heart of both giving and receiving feedback. If you are open and authentic with others and treat them as the unique individuals they are, you will build the trust and respect required for feedback.

5.   Network wisely to expand your sphere of influence

Proactive people take action on issues that matter. They don’t waste time and energy complaining or wishing things were different. They recognize that things get done through people so they make relationship-building a priority and invest wisely in order to extend their reach of influence.

Remember that without followers, there isn’t any leadership, so developing your communication skills and connecting with others is key if you want to be a good role model.

This article first appeared HERE.

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