Category: Blog Roll

How to Invite Team Leads to Be More Visible

In any growing organization, it’s important for team leaders to be visible. On the surface, this serves a practical purpose: the CEO simply can’t be the provider of and answer for all things, so team leaders can help fill that gap.

More importantly, coaxing team leads into more visible leadership fosters stronger communication, engagement, culture and purpose throughout the organization. And it sets up the leadership team to take on a bigger role and, ultimately, grow beyond the organization.

Start With an Invitation

Will the people you would like to become your team leads naturally volunteer? They may or may not. For many reasons, people often don’t – particularly if they, and more than 70% of your current board members and your leadership team are not womxn, BIPOC and/or openly LGBTQ++. The implicit message they tend to receive is that “You don’t belong in this role, at this level, etc.”

Extending an invitation for people to become more visible, therefore, is really important. Aside from the identities an individual may hold, the other key part of inviting people is letting them in on your vision. Sometimes, as a leader we can see possibilities for the future that our team members cannot yet see. We may have earlier access to information about upcoming initiatives inside the company, or more industry experience that helps us appreciate their talents, or a bigger network from which we are exposed to more external information, as well.

If they’re on a growth S curve, you don’t want them to derail. Know where they are in their journey and start the conversation with them so it can percolate. Once they’ve had time to think about where they are and where they want to go, check in with them to work together to make a plan and set time goals.

Provide the Support They Need

Not every person is the same or approaches their job in the same way. As their leader, it’s important to encourage them to grow and develop in the way that works best for them to thrive, not you.

Some leaders are careful, deliberate and conscientious. They do all their research and homework first, to really understand what good looks like. It’s OK to make space for that.

Others like to jump in with both feet and learn by doing. They may make a mistake and need some compassion, and that’s OK, too. When you trip and skin your knees, you pick yourself up, attend to any issues and keep going.

Whatever their process is, it’s important to help them evolve into more visible leadership in the way that works for them. Remember, this is their next step.

Help Reluctant Leaders

What if a team leader feels resistant to stepping up and becoming more visible? Offer suggestions and encouragement, while giving them the grace and space to think about it.

One of our team leaders needed three months to accept a new role that had been offered to them in the Kadabra organization, but it was important that they have this time because I wanted them to be at the table. If this is a good next step for them, they’ll figure that out and be 100% committed. Some people might benefit from an agreed-upon deadline to make a decision.

Let Go of Fear

A good leader works to find and appreciate the unique potential and gifts in people, and plants the seeds early to give them the possibility to grow.
Great leaders aren’t fearful that their team members will surpass them. In fact, they make a point to hire people smarter and more talented than they are. And then they help them grow even more.

Some people may end up ‘better’ than you—that’s fantastic. If everyone on the team becomes better, smarter, wiser or more talented, that’s only good news for you and the organization. If you aspire to a higher level of leadership in your organization than where you are now, keep in mind that your ability to grow and develop outstanding talent is valuable currency.

In fact, a big compliment to any leader is when you’ve contributed in a meaningful way to someone’s growth and development. Helping them on their journey is a thrill.

See the Big Picture

The truth is that the shelf life of top talent is only about four years. Then they’ll likely be off to the next thing. That’s true for most people, especially in the first two-thirds of their careers.

If we have that in our minds from the get-go, it changes how we think about their abilities and growth trajectory.

While they’re with you, it’s your responsibility as a leader to help them grow into that new role—and make the most of the time you have with them.

Plan for Them to Leave

As much as you appreciate them and pour into them, most team members won’t stay with you forever. Rather than see that as a sign of failure, see it as part of the natural process and plan for it.

Have candid conversations with team members about what their next step is. It may be within this organization, or it may be somewhere else.
Planned transitions are much easier than abrupt ones. Rather than waiting for someone to job hunt and give two weeks’ notice, help everyone plan and adapt so the transition is organized.

When we let go of managing people as if they will stay their whole careers, it frees us from uncertainty and puts us in a different (and better) perspective.

Appreciate the Flow

Sometimes, people go away and then come back. That can be wonderful. Every organization benefits from expanded life experience, seasoning and well-roundedness of team members. People don’t get all of that in one organization.

This is why the natural flow of allowing a leader to grow within the organization through elevated visibility–both internally and externally–is so important. Foster that growth now and make a plan for more.

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How Your Mindsets Can Hold You Back

Your mindsets are one of the most important enablers of your success as a leader—and they can be hard to shift because according to my colleague, Ryan Gottfredson, they are the lenses through which you view your team members, your organization, outside events – everything. Just like a pair of glasses, most of the time you aren’t even aware they are there.

As a leader, your mindsets impact how receptive you are to considering new information that contradicts your current understanding. How you handle that will in turn affect your decision making. It makes the difference between you drawing more reality-based vs. ego-based conclusions.

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Strategic Planning in Uncertain Times

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is a Yiddish adage that translates to “Man plans, and God laughs.” Rarely has that adage ever been more relevant than it is right now. With so much uncertainty surrounding us, it might feel as if planning is a fool’s errand. Yet we still have to make an attempt to plan and strategize how best to fulfill our missions.

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Showing Up Online

Everything looks and feels different with offices running remotely, and no one can really predict when or if we’ll return to our regular desks.

The biggest challenge isn’t productivity, as many executives feared. Instead, it’s presence. We simply cannot be present online like we can in person.

And sometimes, that means you have to work a little harder at it.

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Finding Peace During Difficult Times

When it comes right down to it, peace is a state mind. Most of us don’t consciously think about how to create a peaceful state of mind during our fast-paced, busy lives. And these days, it’s easier to go into a state of overwhelm than peace. The good news is, there are ways to shift this.

What causes us to be in a non-peaceful state of mind? There are two primary culprits:
1. Habitual ways of thinking
2. The questions we ask ourselves

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Bringing Laughter to the Workplace

For many of us, 2020 has been a rough year. With everything going on in the world, we could probably all use a little more laughter and fun in our lives. Laughing doesn’t just lift our mood, it improves our performance at work.

Studies have shown that laughter is associated with higher motivation and productivity and that humor can enhance insight and creative problem solving. A culture of levity in the workplace can help build stronger teams by improving morale and fostering a sense of camaraderie.

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Four Top Skills Leaders Need Now

Leaders must possess myriad skills to get where they are and to be successful. And the list of skills necessary to lead may be different depending on who you ask. 

Leaders who are already pivoting their companies to thrive during crisis likely possess at least two of these skills already. However, all four of these skills are infinite skills.

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How to Ensure You Have the Right People on Your Team Infinitum

Are you wondering if you currently have the right people on your team? Do you need to fill a gap or plan to expand your team in the future? What best practices can you adopt to ensure you have created a working environment that attracts the right people?

As a manager, you have the responsibility to deliver on the needs of your company. You also have an opportunity to bring out the best in others and maintain healthy relationships with those you work with.

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Visionary leadership or leading the work? Be the visionary

Are you a visionary leader or are you spending too much time leading execution? Both matter, and there is a big difference between them.

No matter what level of leader you are in your organization, executing on a vision is only one part of your job. The problem is, too many leaders get stuck there because execution is familiar terrain where they’ve excelled in the past.

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How Do You Move Forward When There Is So Much Uncertainty?

If ever there were VUCA times, we’re in the thick of them now. Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous—VUCA. Most of us hate VUCA times. We’re hard wired to crave certainty and sameness. It takes effort to maintain equanimity during VUCA times.

Let’s talk about how we’re hard-wired to crave certainty and sameness. The limbic system is the part of the brain that activates the fight/flight/freeze/fawn responses whenever we’re faced with danger. The decision about what is dangerous happens in milliseconds, far faster than we’re able to consciously process a situation. This is helpful when we’re in real physical danger.

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