Your behaviour as a leader has an enormous impact on your team and your organizational culture. Understanding the effect of your leadership behaviours on the execution of your strategy is the first step in guiding your team in the right direction.
As a leader, the best way to harness momentum and motivation around your strategy is by consistently behaving in ways that you want to see others behave, and exhibit the behaviours that you want to ingrain into your culture and ultimately pass down to everyone in your organization.
Here are a few things you can do to sustain momentum and support the execution of your strategy by being intentional with your leadership behaviours:
Be decisive and take action, however small, towards your goal. When temptation to postpone, cancel or move deadlines presents itself, let people see you take one small step toward the goal – when you can’t do it all, something is better than nothing; if you can’t do all of it, do some of it. When you put a visible emphasis on forward motion in the execution of your plan, chances are others will follow your lead.
Focus on solutions when obstacles present themselves along the way. When problems arise, how you handle them shows people what problem-solving looks like in an execution culture.
Empower people to make progress and succeed. Provide team members the autonomy and resources they require to succeed, clearly define your expectations around behaviour, and provide consistent feedback. Expand people’s capabilities through coaching. Encourage non-traditional ideas, activities and actions. Give people a stake in success and reward and appreciate effort, achievement, and steps in the right direction. Celebrate successes and share the credit.
Practice Emotional Intelligence. Self-manage and make emotionally aware decisions and choices. Be aware of your own judgment of others, and check out your assumptions and stories. Put yourself in others’ shoes to understand what they might need from you. Be aware of behaviours and emotions indicating resistance, and engage them in moving forward through their resistance to get them back on track to the successful completion of their goals and action plans.
Be open. As a leader, be open to feedback, to differing points of view, and to understanding your own weaknesses. This will help create an environment of candour where ideological conflict spurs on team members to consider creative and resourceful approaches that may be contrary to your thoughts.
Follow-through and be accountable. All the effort in the world won’t be enough if you don’t follow up and meet your accountabilities. Think of it as the “intention-action connection”: do what you say you’re going to do when you said you would do it, and hold others to that same standard.
Learn the new systems and behaviours that are consistent with the changes you are trying to make. It’s very easy for people to fall back into old patterns and habits even when they have the best of intentions to go forth and execute the plan. If any part of your strategy involves changing existing systems or developing new ones, resist the urge to use old systems because it’s easier. More importantly, don’t wait for others to adopt new systems first, before you attempt to learn them.
As a leader within your organization if you find yourself frustrated by the lack of accountability and the ability for people to execute effectively on key objectives and initiatives, read over the suggestions above and ask yourself two questions: what one thing can I do differently to model the behaviours I would like to see more of and, what specific, actionable coaching can I provide to my team to help them take a step forward on their ability to execute effectively.