Have you given your leadership efforts some deep thinking lately? Although you likely believe your leadership is critical to your success, leadership can sometimes seem more conceptual than specifically actionable. That's why it's important to be able to recognize the clues that your leadership is effective in the everyday actions of those around you.
Here are just three of many indicators that you are leading effectively:
1. People know what they can count on from each other.
This first point goes beyond roles and responsibilities (although these are important, too!). Knowing what you can count on from others means you know what you can depend on in terms of skills and abilities from those you work with each and every day. When you are leading effectively, employees know what they can count on from each other and the natural outcome is effective teamwork and collaboration.
2. People keep their promises to each other.
Consider that the weakest link in an organization is not an individual, but rather the weakest link between individuals. The link between individuals on any team are the promises they make to each other. When promises are being made and kept, those links are strong. On the other hand, when promises are not kept consistently, those weak links degrade the effectiveness of the entire team. Effective leaders carefully tend to the reliability in the relationships among those they lead.
3. People hold you and each other accountable.
The way a leader tends to the reliability among those they lead is by holding people to account for both what they promise and for living true to the values you and your organization espouse. Yet as a leader it isn't enough for you to hold others to account. To lead effectively, you must ensure that you allow others to hold you to account as well. You must support them in holding each other to account for doing what they say and for behaving consistently with your organization's values.
Consider that when you are leading effectively, you are building far more than individual excellence and performance. As an effective leader, you are building a network of relationships among those you lead that are based in trust-trust in each other's dependability, reliability and integrity. These networks are valuable, so treat them like gold.
So if you want to assess whether you are leading effectively, see if you can identify examples where trust is being built or degraded among those you lead. Observe how people are counting on each other, keeping their promises to each other and holding each other to account in their everyday work and interactions. Then decide what conversations you can have to help those you lead build, repair and fortify their network of relationships to not only deliver high performance, but also immense satisfaction in their everyday experience of work.