New leaders, seasoned leaders and everyone in-between have one thing in common: they can improve their leadership skills through team building and team development strategies and additional training. Proper onboarding and training strategies probably seem obvious for new leaders, but Gallup research finds that only one in 10 managers possess the natural talent needed to lead a team. This means that 90 percent of managers aren’t necessarily meeting all pertinent requirements for their leadership positions and could greatly benefit by identifying the best ways to polish their leadership skills with good leadership team development strategies.

Leadership team development strategies for improved leadership skills 

Build empathy skills.

Empathy, one of the six common-sense and research-based principles required for high-functioning group behavior, is an essential element for leading with emotional intelligence and for resolving conflict so leaders can grow the company rather than dealing with drama and grudges. According to the book, TIGERS Among Us – Winning Business Team Cultures and Why They Thrive (Three Creeks Publishing, 2010), empathetic leadership is so important that when leaders don’t place enough value on it, companies suffer in terms of customer satisfaction, profitability and employee engagement. When senior leaders lack empathy in their positions, companies also experience higher turnover rates, increased absences and lower productivity. To improve empathy in the workplace, leaders can implement a number of strategies, including focusing on areas of customer, employee and vendor relationships. Both internal and external relationships function better with empathy. Leaders are wise to invest time in both empathy and emotional intelligence skill improvement.

Know what your team members want.

Great leaders inspire their team members because they know what their team members want to achieve.  With good facilitation and critical thinking methods, leaders can hold meetings where employees feel safe to raise issues with hope that their work is more streamlined and easier to perform.  In order to best motivate your team members to achieve goals, it’s important to understand what their goals are and what frustrates the accomplishment of them. Ideally, your team members’ goals and your company’s goals align, which is another sign of good facilitated meeting management and evidence that employees understand how what they do strategically aligns with company initiatives.  When goals don’t align, it’s the leader’s job to identify team members’ strengths and weaknesses and work with employees to streamline goals that work with company strategies.  This is what strategic alignment is. As a leader, these skills are repeatable when you listen to and work with customers and vendors to address their needs as well. These long game actions help your company achieve strategic income and customer satisfaction goals.

Productively manage stress.

Stress is part of life, but for many leaders, stress can turn into unhelpful and detrimental anxiety that inhibits progress and reduces productivity, notes Dianne Crampton, Founder of TIGERS Success Series, and author of the Melting Your Stress Within 30 Days management training program. One of the best ways leaders manage their stress productively is by opening up to others about their struggles. This could come in the form of confiding in a mentor or other trusted friend or loved one who is outside of the problem. When you are in the middle of a stressful situation, it’s easy to blow things out of proportion and to see problems as bigger than they actually are. But when you consult with someone who is outside of the situation, you are able to see the problem with a fresh pair of eyes and potentially find new solutions that you didn’t consider before. Whoever you choose to confide in, ensure that you completely trust them so that you completely open up to them regarding your concerns.

Seek feedback.

To improve as a leader, know how you are performing as a leader. A good benchmark group dynamic profile that reports on the collective behavior of your department or division need not be scary or intimidating when it is understood that you can’t improve on something you do not know about.  Employees’ feelings and impressions matter. They lie at the foundation of engagement and retention issues and whether your department regularly meets and exceeds goals.  It also forms the relationship dynamics of your department and company culture.  While it can be difficult to keep up with all of your employees all of the time, it’s essential that you put an action plan in place to do just that. Starting with a good diagnostic that points to the first step in group dynamic improvement, you can build up from there with employee conversations and micro training that improves the group dynamic profile.  You also have needed information for your own leadership performance goals.  Employees flourish when they feel valued. They also require a system that provides safe avenues for feedback.  When the feedback is structured for positive and strategic group dynamic alignment, many leaders are surprised how quickly workforce behavior dynamics improve and balance sheet cost line items are reduced. Examples are costs associated with turnover, risk management, waste and rework. More importantly, leaders who actively listen to their employees when they provide feedback and respond with empathetic understanding get to the root cause of problems that result in positive change that employees champion.

Leaders who are new, seasoned or somewhere in between all have one thing in common: they could be performing better. This doesn’t mean that you are failing as a leader. It does mean that no one is perfect and it is important to know what you do not know.  It starts with good diagnostics that surface group behavior dynamics so you know where to start. When leaders become complacent, they flounder and many times unsupported.  Therefore, seek out ways to improve your team leadership skills and for ways to improve your department or division behavior dynamics.  These are long game leadership team building strategies that help you achieve your goals. Some strategies to implement include: focusing on empathetic skills to improve your emotional intelligence and conflict resolution skills; know what your team members want in their positions; manage stress productively; and seek, and implement feedback from your employees. 

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About TIGERS Success Series, Inc.

TIGERS® Success Series provides a comprehensive and robust system for propelling both your work environment and profitability forward at warp speed.  We specialize in workplace enrichment and employee re-invigoration. Our proprietary licensing and education workshops are based on the six principles we have found to be the right mix to make this happen. The six principles are Trust, Interdependence, Genuineness, Empathy, Risk and Success. Born from our many years of business, psychology, and educational group dynamic research, and subsequent four years of independent evaluation, we instill and sustain behaviors that improve work group performance for measurable ROI.

Since 1987, TIGERS has served committed leaders who desire more cooperation among departments, teams, managers and individual employees. This heightened level of cooperation leads to improved revenue, purpose, commitment and impact. Employees quit companies because they don’t get along with leaders and co-workers. Work culture refinement and behaviors that build strong relationships erase this trend remarkably fast.  For more information call 1+541-385-7465 or visit http://www.corevalues.com .