We’re all familiar with the adage, “A team is only as good as its leader.” And it couldn’t ring truer. When it comes right down to it, a leader has the power to either make or break a team. Having effective leadership in place can inspire the trust and respect of a team, thereby aligning all of its members to collectively work toward a shared vision and achieve the goals of a business.
Although many different traits can make up an effective leadership team, there are three key characteristics that are foundational to cultivating team health and, ultimately, driving the success of a small business:
1. They practice humility.
“Great leaders are able to prioritize the well-being and results of a team over their own personal gain,” says Alex Freytag, a partner at ProfitWorks, LLC. “This means checking their ego at the door.”
One of the biggest ways to demonstrate humility as a leader is to maintain objective judgment. This shows team members they can trust their leader to make decisions that are in the best interest of the entire organization, and not just a department or individual, which in turn builds a foundation of respect.
In addition, effective leaders are willing to get in the trenches and work alongside their team – and not above them, simply dictating orders. They support their team members in any way they need, lead by example and set the standard for the team to follow.
After interacting with a great leader, a team member should walk away feeling inspired, empowered and valued – ultimately leading him or her to be a strong player. In turn, this will build a fiercely loyal team, whose appreciation will be evident in its productivity.
2. They are willing to have healthy conflict.
Most people are uncomfortable with conflict and naturally shy away from it. After all, conflict often comes with a great deal of passion, emotion and even frustration.
“Conflict tends to fall on a spectrum,” explains Freytag. “On one end, you have artificial harmony where an individual pretends everything is okay, and on the other end, you have bitter, aggressive attacks and the blame game.”
The best leaders fall in the middle of this spectrum, he says, recognizing that healthy conflict is necessary in order for a business to grow and thrive. They encourage their team members to confront and debate issues, offer constructive feedback and openly communicate their ideas or concerns – but ultimately come to a resolution in the end.
3. They recognize there won’t always be consensus.
Effective leaders view dissent as par for the course and realize there won’t always be consensus among their team members. They expect healthy debate around any big business decisions and keep their lines of communication open, instead of trying to silence those who are in disagreement.
“When it comes to healthy conflict, a solid leadership team can both disagree and commit,” says Freytag. “They take time to make sure everyone’s opinions are voiced, but can ultimately recognize when it’s time to make a decision.”
And although there may not be consensus, an effective leader will help get everyone on board in support of a decision once it’s been made. This means that each team member has acknowledged the decision – such as with a verbal “yes” – and takes accountability as a group for any outcomes.
The way a team is led can have a far-reaching impact on a business – from its team health and work culture, to its performance and profitability. By cultivating an effective leadership team, small-business owners will help lay the foundation for trust and respect among their team members, ultimately resulting in greater morale, productivity and long-term success.
Want to learn more about growing your small business?
Contact Evolution Capital Partners at (216) 593-0402.