Developing Leadership Skills in the Context of Teams
Another exciting announcement: this week, we’re welcoming the newest member of our New York team, Natalya Sverjensky, as Director of Organizational Change. Over the past decade, she’s established the strategy practice at Futerra (a sustainability consulting firm), launched and run the US business of Within People (a global coaching partnership) and worked with leaders across six continents. She’s written this week’s newsletter as a way of introduction, and would love to talk more about leading change—so drop her a line.
I’ve dedicated my career to helping leaders make change, so I’m thrilled to be joining the NOBL New York team. In my experience working with companies around the world, leadership —or lack thereof—is always the biggest obstacle to growth. Poor leadership is the number one reason people quit; and a recent survey of tech workers found that poor leadership is the biggest cause of burnout. It kills morale, motivation and ultimately productivity. I see people hold three big misconceptions about leadership and what it means:
Leadership is not a title. People often confuse leadership with hierarchy, or assume it’s a mystical quality you’re born with. It’s neither. Leadership is about behavior. It’s a skill set anyone can learn, as long as they commit to it.
Leadership is not an intellectual exercise. We often see HR grapple with which framework to use to structure leadership in their business. When leadership is an intellectual debate, it becomes separate from the work—and that’s dangerous. True leadership is the hard work of motivating people to hit moving targets in a changing world.
Leadership is not a solitary pursuit. You can be the world’s most visionary, empathetic, radically candid leader, but without your team, it doesn’t matter. While it’s vital to grow as an individual, your skills are only put to the test in the relationships you build through teamwork.
True leaders are here to serve the collective. They’re able to influence themselves and the people around them to unleash growth. Yet so much leadership development focuses only on the individual. The real magic happens when you combine personal development with team development—in other words, as you do the work. So, how can you develop your own skills as a leader?
You can live by the “five-hour rule” and set aside an hour every day for learning or deliberate practice
You can do the Johari Window exercise to put your self-awareness to the test
You can make sure you never stop growing by finding a mentor who challenges you to take your skills to the next level
You can join our community of leaders on Slack who are making change happen
How can you develop skills as a team?
You can hold monthly team retros to understand what’s working and what’s not
You can set up a reverse-mentoring program to teach each other something new
You can use the “drama triangle” framework to break cycles of fear and blame in your team
You can help your team find their “flow” where levels of challenge match levels of skill
As we enter the final stretch of 2018, make sure your team is positioned to end the year strong—talk to us about leadership development for your team.