Five tips to help you succeed


Extensive research has been done to understand the drivers behind excellence in leadership. Indicators from earlier studies show initiative, persistence, sociability, and willingness to accept the consequences of decisions as important (Stogdill 1948 and 1974). Later, larger studies confirm some of these but adds drive for results, integrity, honesty, and powerful communication into the mix (Zenger and Folkman).

Overall, there are many opinions and facts available. However to become an authentic and inclusive leader, our mindset should be one of collaboration and bringing others along instead of focussing on ego and our own agenda.

The following leadership growth hacks, when applied in this way, can go a long way to enhance our capabilities.



Listen actively


Actively listening requires our full attention. It takes a conscious effort to be present and focussed to ensure the speaker knows that you’re interested and engaged. Remember to:

  • Focus on the speaker
  • Make no judgments until you’ve had an opportunity to reflect on their words
  • Concentrate on listening instead of already preparing your arguments

The benefit of active listening is really understanding the person and ultimately the problem they present. Getting to know your team well by observing their non-verbal signals is also a benefit of being present when you listen. Leaders grow from gaining insights.


Set clear goals to achieve a vision or mission


Most people achieve results when they know which direction they should take. Once a strategy has been clearly set and articulated, your team can fully focus on the steps needed to get to the results you expect. Often, leaders make assumptions about how clear they are or the level of understanding in teams on what is needed. Remember to:

  • State the objectives in specific and measurable terms
  • Check on understanding by asking questions such as:
    • How will you get the information?
    • What format will you use to write the reports?
    • Will you need help to complete the project?
  • Always follow up. Set a date and time for the follow-up meeting or when the task/goal has to be completed. This way, everyone is aware of the constraints.


Make decisions


Let’s say your team comes to a dead stop on a project. Complexity has befuddled the situation, thereby creating a deadlock. Take the lead. Be the decision maker and talk through your reasoning. Show your team the power of making decisions.

Often decisions are impaired by too much or too little information, too many people, emotional attach- or detachment, and various other factors. By showing your team effective ways of decision making and helping them through a problem, you are empowering them to be more efficient in the future. Take care not to be a control freak. They’ll lose respect and shut you out of their process.

A leader is one
who knows the way,
goes the way,
and shows the way.

John C. Maxwell

Encourage innovation and creativity


I once was told that if I wanted a different result, I had to use a different approach. We all get stuck in doing the same things in the same ways. Safe and reliable. Though it gets the job done, it stunts growth. Encouraging your team to experiment and innovate, to have courage. They might fail and learn, but they might grow and excel.

Learning new skills and figuring out different ways of working ultimately benefits everyone. Your team will feel engaged and rewarded by achievement and the company will become more efficient as a result.


Create and build relationships


The foundation of our lives is made up of relationships. Great leaders not only know that you need to network. But how important it is to be genuine in your efforts to get to know others, and to walk a mile in their shoes.

Team-building and development are integral tools for leaders to emphasise the importance of relying on each other, bringing others along, and the power of the collective effort. Once thought to be a waste of money, team-building offsites are now a common and effective way to encourage relationship growth amongst teams to ensure effective communication and collaboration. Being a great leader requires constant self-reflection, development and trust in the abilities of others to bring the vision to life.


Use these leadership growth hacks at work to become an authentic and inclusive leader.

Lynette Croxford. Guest author and Azkua Network Partner

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