This week, I’d like to introduce you to Kaity Nakagoshi. Kaity is employed by the University of Notre Dame’s on-line certificate program where she “works closely with leaders and managers whose voices are on the web through community outreach and internet marketing”. I have invited Kaity to write a guest post here because I believe online education plays an important role in our opportunity and ability to learn, and apply new learning, on a daily basis.
Today’s leaders must be experts in change management in order to guide their teams towards organizational goals. In business, change is the one thing you can always count on – and now, it happens faster than ever. Unfortunately, not everyone embraces change. In fact, some employees actively resist it. Not everyone is a born leader, but most can learn the tools and techniques used by respected leaders to influence others and bring about change.
Building Trust Leads to Embracing Change
Would you like to inspire your employees to embrace new initiatives and work toward common goals? For some leaders, that may seem effortless, but in reality, they’ve worked to gain the trust of the people they lead. Cultivating a high level of trust is essential to getting things done efficiently and cost-effectively – both of which are required in a competitive business environment. Here are three tips to quickly build trust:
- Trust Yourself: To be a leader, you need self-confidence. Confident people live their beliefs. They back up their words with commitment, and they always speak the truth. When you trust in yourself first, your ability to earn the trust of others will follow.
- Acknowledge Past Missteps: Perhaps you weren’t completely truthful, or haven’t followed through on your promises. If so, it’s quite likely that your staff noticed your missteps. Before you can ask for their trust, you must take responsibility for past actions.
- Be Accountable: Effective leaders require accountability from their people, and are accountable to their people. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. For example, have your bicycle commuters requested a bike rack? Be proactive and have one installed. Is flexible scheduling a wish-list item for your employees? These efforts will not go unnoticed – they will trust that you “walk the walk.”
Continuous Improvements Require Thorough Training
A smooth-running, productive team is comprised of individuals who have the opportunity to contribute their best efforts toward common goals. But first, they must clearly understand the reasons and objectives behind a new project or process, and how they fit in. Next, they need to feel comfortable taking on their share of the responsibility. If there are any gaps in the team’s capabilities, it’s time for additional training. Effective leaders recognize each employee’s strengths and abilities, and assign tasks accordingly.
Effective Leaders Focus on Customers
Customer-driven enterprises exist to serve the needs of customers. All improvements to processes, procedures and operations must support this goal. The best leaders track customer demands and share with their teams, so everyone can fully understand the changes they are asked to implement. Operations improvements that will benefit the customer are much more accepted.
Don’t Settle For Less Than Excellence in Communication
Your team will trust in your leadership, as long as they know that their efforts are for the greater good. But it’s also important to be consistent and honest in your communication. Empowering your team members to feel comfortable with sharing information, asking questions and voicing their ideas is a key to success. Good, honest communication helps build trust, and it’s no stretch to say that every great leader is an excellent communicator.
Change Management Comes From Effective Leadership
The best leaders have the ability to keep their own goals in sight, while also focusing on those of their team members and the organization at large. Moving a business toward meeting its objectives requires that each member of the team have a stake in those objectives. When procedures change, individuals often feel uncomfortable and lose sight of the goal. This can lead to a drop in confidence, morale, and productivity. Building trust, providing training, focusing on customers’ needs and providing clear communication are essential to fostering effective change. Try these ways to strengthen your leadership skills, and you’ll have a much better impact on your team’s performance
This article was submitted by the University of Notre Dame, in partnership with the University Alliance. The University of Notre Dame provides all the necessary tools and resources to gain an executive certificate in leadership and management online.
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