The secret to engaged and high-performing teams that go the extra mile? Great leadership – not just from the top-down, but from the whole team.
By encouraging employees to cultivate leadership skills, you can create a winning team that’s proactive, productive, and stronger together.
“Great leadership is important in any organisation, regardless of its size,” says Daniela Kraus, director and global COO of XVenture.
“People believe that to be a leader means being the boss. This isn’t the case at all. Every person has the opportunity to take a leadership role.”
So how can small business owners develop their people to become future leaders?
The secret to employee motivation
Leadership development is crucial for growing businesses looking to keep their teams motivated and productive. Researchers at Culture Amp identified that strong leadership and development opportunities comprised four of the top five drivers of employee engagement. Exhibiting strong leadership, and offering employees a chance to develop and do the same, is crucial to keeping them engaged – and keeping them around.
Professional development is a constant area of interest for workers – a SmartCompany survey conducted in late 2018 found 40% of readers wanted to learn more about how to lead and develop a team.
If you’re not investing in developing your people, you could be losing a competitive edge. Twenty-one per cent of readers in the same survey said they planned to invest in education and professional development either for themselves or their staff, and more than 50% (51.78) of small businesses have invested between $2000-$10,000 in professional development.
Creating Winning Minds
To develop great leaders, Kraus says people should work on fostering a ‘Performance Improvement Mindset’.
“How can one be better today, than yesterday? When a setback is experienced, or a mistake is made, having a PIMS (Performance Improvement Mindset) is so important.”
Integral to this improvement mindset is cultivating the principles of EARL – emotional agility, resilience and leadership. Kraus says these four attributes will help create leaders that are flexible and adaptable, self-aware, stable, resilient and empathetic.
These principles aren’t just applicable in the workplace. Kraus’ business partner Mike Conway recently worked with A-League soccer team Sydney FC to develop cohesion and build EARL in players and coaches. The results speak for themselves: in the time he worked with the team, it won five trophies and broke numerous records.
“The principles of EARL transcend size of an organisation and industry. A person who is emotionally agile is going to be more adaptable, they are going to be able to monitor their emotions and the impact of them on their own performance,” Kraus says.
Equally important is resilience, which Kraus says is particularly necessary for small business owners to cultivate.
“When something has led to a negative or unexpected outcome, a business owner needs to be able to move on quickly,” she says.
“It’s ok to make mistakes. In fact, mistakes are important for one’s own personal growth and business growth. It’s the ability to reflect, learn and then move forward quickly which will help build resilience.”
Taking the time to develop your people will ensure your team is engaged, productive, and has the freedom to experiment and learn.
“Encourage a culture of open and honest learning to encourage people to take a leadership role,” says Kraus.
In any organisation, people are the greatest asset. Investing in their development and giving them opportunities for leadership and growth will ensure you’re set up for success.
XVenture create and deliver cutting edge, multi-dimensional learning, growth and development programs, with a focus on Creating Winning Minds in a team context. They work in elite sport, business, education and entertainment.