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The best qualities of leadership that every aspiring manager should work toward

If you’re an aspiring leader, you have a lot on your plate. Not only do you need to perform your current job well, but you also have to show leadership potential. Once you get there, the tasks get even greater because you may have a team under you (and even if you’re not a direct people manager, you’ll need to lead projects or teams). It can all be dizzying. But when thinking about the top qualities of leadership, there are a few that stand out from the pack. 

20 – The ability to think on your feet

Thinking on your feet is a top quality of leadership

This scenario could easily happen to you as a new leader or manager: the CEO wants to give you a chance to step into your role. Or perhaps you are at a client meeting and the company wants to officially introduce you to the client. 

So your manager asks you to deliver a presentation for 10 minutes on the latest project updates your team has been working on. So far, so good. But suddenly, your team is called away on an emergency and you have to go alone. Now, you aren’t speaking for 10 minutes – you need to fill the entire two hour meeting agenda. You figure this out on the ride over, so you scramble to remember roughly what everyone else was going to talk about and how you’re going to frame the fact that you’re arriving alone (after all, the client was expecting everybody). 

In another example, it’s possible that your well-thought out plan completely fails for a new marketing initiative and it’s back to the drawing board… two days before the campaign launch date. You’ve got a lot of work to do and little time for intense “brainstorming” sessions. You’ve got to think on your feet. 

Thinking on your feet like this is something that all good leaders are able to do. They know what their own messages are, but they also pay attention to everything else. It may never be necessary to turn a 10 minute presentation into a two hour one, but thinking on your feet can happen in a variety of ways. 

How to get better at thinking on your feet: There are a couple things you can do to think on your feet more efficiently. 

For one, have basic frameworks in the back of your mind that you can draw on. For example, a framework that helps you plan a talk or a framework that helps you test out new ideas. When times get tough, you can pull out these frameworks and immediately get to action. 

Secondly, be observant. Look around at what’s going on. Pay attention to what people say in meetings. Keep your ear to the ground, so the speak, to learn what other people’s initiatives are. This isn’t about spying or gossiping. Instead, it’s for your own knowledge and context. It will not only help you make your work more integrated with what everyone else is doing, you’ll also be more prepared if an emergency comes up and you need to handle it. 

19 – Having difficult conversations

If you manage people, eventually you will need to have a difficult conversation

Managing people can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the world. You not only get to see others shine, but you also get the benefit of watching as your team produces more than you ever thought possible. When it goes well, it’s amazing. On the other hand, it can be a tough job as well that requires compassion, grit, and being tough – often all at the same time. Even on a high-performing team, people will need to be put back in line from time to time. 

Having difficult conversations with team members can feel awkward, especially for new managers. After all, you aren’t intrinsically better than someone just because of your title as their “manager”. But if someone falls out of line or is not working towards a common goal – or even actively trying to harm that common goal – then you must, as their manager, have that difficult conversation. 

Difficult conversations can come in many forms, and what’s “difficult” changes depending on your personality and the topic at hand. You may be fine reminding someone to stay on task but have a really hard time telling someone they are being inappropriate to another coworker. Or you have no issue taking someone off a project if they aren’t performing but feel uncomfortable talking about life outside work. 

How to have difficult conversations properly: One of the best things you can do when you have to have a difficult conversation with a team member is to write down the facts, your concerns, and your desired outcome ahead of time. 

When your conversation plan is written plainly before you walk into the meeting, two things happen. One: before the meeting starts, you have time to think about how you want to say things and get the chance to edit your words. Two: during the conversation, you have a reference point that you can check throughout the meeting to remind you of the key facts or to get back on track if the conversation moves in a different direction. 

While the topic of conversation may be difficult – it’s always hard to tell someone they aren’t performing in some way – the process doesn’t have to be. Write down what you want to say ahead of time so you get the best possible outcome from the conversation.

18 – Guiding professional development for your team

Professional development will help your team grow immensely

Over time, your company’s needs will evolve. Suddenly your amazingly talented team will no longer fit the bill; their skills aren’t helpful anymore. But this doesn’t mean you fire everyone. Sure, you may hire for very niche skills that become necessary. For everyone else, a good leader will guide their professional development to help them learn the new skills the company needs and learn any new skills they want to develop personally. 

Professional development is a tough balance, but guiding a team’s professional development a necessary trait that all good leaders must develop. 

A great leader will look at the upcoming needs of the company and be transparent with their team about what’s coming next. Then they will offer opportunities to develop so that team members can keep up with the pace of change in the industry and at the company. Further, development should also help employees reach any other skills goals for their own professional development (side note: this is massively correlated to employee engagement and retention, so great leaders keep the best people by helping them be better). 

How to better guide professional development for team members: This is a four part process. First off, you need to know what the company is going to require of your team. You hired your team to do a job, and if that job is shifting then you need to know what it is and communicate it to your team. 

The second step is to identify what your team members want to learn or develop. Don’t assume, for example, that a social media manager automatically wants to go in-depth on paid social analytics. They may want to move into content marketing while another team member would love the chance to learn paid social analytics. 

Once you know what the company needs and what individuals want, the third step is to begin to pair the skills to the people. This helps you develop accountability later on. The fourth and final step is to match the people with relevant professional development opportunities where they can learn the skills they need for their jobs and anything else they want to learn for themselves. These opportunities could be conferences, courses, mentorship, self-teaching, stretch projects, or more. 

17 – Self awareness

Being self aware is a top quality of leadership

If you ask the best leaders in the world what they are good at, they will tell you. Some will say it’s getting people to work together. Others will say vision planning. Different leaders may say something else entirely. The same goes for if you ask the best leaders in the world what they are not good at. You’ll get multiple different answers, but rarely, if ever, will the answer be “I don’t know.” 

Knowing yourself – knowing what you’re good at and what you need to improve on – is a key trait that all good leaders must develop. 

It’s important because you can’t help others grow unless you are aware of what they need. This applies to a team as much as to yourself – if you don’t know what you need, you will stall out and not grow. Since the world is always changing, and often at a rapid pace, if you’re not growing then you will be left behind. 

How to become more self aware: Becoming self aware starts with understanding your feelings, as sappy as that may sound. When you know why you feel a certain way, instead of just having a feeling and acting on it, you gain much more self-knowledge. If you want to learn more about your emotions, try writing them down and explaining to yourself what caused the feeling and why you feel that way. For example, if you got angry at a coworker for something they did, think about why you reacted with anger instead of another emotion. This isn’t the time to judge your emotions, just understand where they come from. 

Once you know more about your emotions, you can begin to think about your skillsets. Sometimes we feel emotions like anger when we are exposed as not being great at something – so knowing emotions can help you figure out which skills you’re not good at. Sometimes, though, you just know what you aren’t good at. 

After identifying your emotions and figuring out what you are – and are not – good at, you’ll learn more self-awareness as you go. Learning more, focusing on professional development, and identifying necessary learning patterns in yourself and others.

16 – The ability to forgive

Forgiveness is a sign of strength

Sometimes as a leader, you’ll encounter some really awful things. People who are out to get you. Team members who want to sabotage the project they are working on. Others who are just unkind for a variety of reasons. It’s important to know it’s rarely, if ever, actually about you – often those people have other issues they are working through. But it can still hurt and cause actual damage. However, that’s when forgiveness is crucial. 

The ability to forgive is necessary for any good leader. Not because everyone necessarily “deserves” to be forgiven, but because holding grudges will, in time, hinder your ability to lead. If you hold a grudge against people, you may not be able to lead with a clear head. The longer you hold a grudge, anything that looks like what happened to you in the past will cause you distress or anger. That all rolls up to a situation where you can’t think clearly and help others succeed. 

Being able to forgive, though, releases those feelings from you. You don’t owe anyone anything once you’ve forgive them. You may not be friends, and that person may still need to face consequences for their actions, but it removes you from obligation. 

How to get better at forgiving: One of the toughest parts of forgiving someone is that you have to understand where they are coming from. You have to see things from their side in order to find something good in their intentions. Or, if you can’t find anything good, at least find something you can make peace with. 

To start with forgiving someone, pretend the roles were reversed. Pretend you did the nasty thing to the other person. Think about why you may have done that. Were you angry? Did someone else do the same thing to you? Did you genuinely not know what you were doing was bad or harmful? There could be a million explanations for what happened. Try to think them through. 

The goal of any process of forgiveness is to know where someone was coming from so you can get closure on it. Flipping the script and pretending you were the person who did the bad thing helps you think about the incident more clearly. Once you’ve gotten a deeper understanding of why they may have done it, you can think clearly about any consequences and next steps. 

15 – Lead efficient team meetings

Managing a team means ensuring everyone is on the right page

As an individual contributor, you probably had great managers and poor managers when it came to meetings. Sometimes, the meetings seem to never end and you wish that you could just get your work done. Other times you find yourself wishing the meeting went a little longer because you didn’t fully understand what everyone said, but there was no time for questions. 

As a people leader, it’s your job to make sure that meetings are efficient and productive. Since the team will all have their own work to do, you can’t expect them to know how all the pieces fit together at all times – that’s your role as a leader to know how things fit together and communicate them. And a meeting can be the perfect place to do it. 

How to run better meetings: The first thing to pay attention to is how meetings are conducted. Are you communicating – and sticking to – an agenda? Or are all your meetings ad-hoc? Do you define a purpose for each meeting to identify precisely what you want to get out of your time together? Do you collect feedback from your team about if they feel meetings help them do their jobs better?

Once you know how your meetings should be run, think about frequency. Meetings sometimes get a bad reputation as nothing but time-wasters. Without them, though, people would need to make connections one at a time, which could take even more time. A good meeting saves everyone time in the long run. So think about how frequently you meet and how much time you’re saving with a well-run meeting. You may even find you need to meet more, just done in the right way. 

Remember, too, that every team and work environment needs different tactics. So treat it like an experiment! Be up front with your team that you’re looking to find the meeting style and frequency that helps the team get more done.

14 – Prioritization 

Prioritization is a crucial element of being a great leader

One of the best problems to have as a leader is when your team wants to do more and more. There are great ideas coming from everyone, people are willing to work, and they are either capable or quick learners. It sounds like a dream! Until you have the reality hit you that you simply can’t do everything. 

When you have an eager team but not enough time or resources to get everything done, that’s when prioritization becomes crucial. 

Prioritizing everyone’s time and energy into the highest-value tasks is probably the most difficult job of any leader. It can be so difficult to know what’s a legitimate use of time versus something else, especially when both ideas sound great. 

How to get better at team prioritization: The best way to prioritize your team’s work is to look at the overall company vision and desired outcomes, then work backwards. If your organization has a vision to build the best widgets and the company is currently expanding into a new country, then you should be able to explicitly say how everything your team is working on fuels the vision and current company-wide deliverables. 

Once connected to your company’s vision and deliverables, think specifically of your department’s needs. If you’re in marketing, you shouldn’t be worried about doing HR tasks like recruiting (though helping coworkers is always valuable). Instead, think of the most critical marketing tasks related to entering a new market – establishing a brand, finding demand partners, or something else. Then work backwards even further down to your team’s capabilities or capacity. 

13 – The ability to delegate

great leaders delegate to scale their team's efforts

When you’re an individual contributor, you’re measured on your output. You’re incentivized to become more productive, doing more with the same or fewer resources.

However, leaders are measured based on team output. If you’re too focused on getting more of your own work done, your team’s work may suffer. Instead, you need to focus on scaling your whole team’s output. Your job is now to be the catalyst of your team’s productivity, helping them get done more with the same or fewer resources (as your manager hopefully did for you when you were an individual contributor).

How to delegate better: Delegation is a matter of owning the vision but letting go of the execution. The best delegators set the work vision for the team, identify each team member’s strengths or preferences, then match work to be done with team member strengths or preferences.

Once work starts the leader tweaks jobs as necessary, helps team members when they are stuck, and acts as the cohesive glue that keeps the team interacting and working as a team (not just a group of individuals).

12 – Empathy

empathy is one of the top qualities of leadership

Named as one of the top qualities of leadership, empathy is the ability to understand someone else’s emotions and feelings. To put it simply, it’s “being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes”. Empathy used to be considered a “soft skill” that wasn’t entirely necessary at work, but new research shows that idea was false.

Studies link empathetic managers to more satisfied employees since they feel managers understand them more. If you’ve ever received feedback that you don’t connect with people well or people feel like you’re not listening to them, you may have an opportunity to grow more empathy. 

How to cultivate empathy: The best way to start is to listen more and fight your urge to defend or explain. This could be as simple as joining a group lunch and listening to their conversation on the sidelines, asking questions to clarify if you don’t understand something but not responding with your own opinions. As a more advanced way to cultivate empathy, ask for direct, honest feedback from someone (or a few people), and just listen. Respond only to let the person know you heard them, but resist explaining why something went the way it did or defending your actions.

When you put yourself in the position of hearing feedback without responding, you not only get the chance to think over things at your own pace, you learn more about how coworkers might feel when they aren’t able to respond to the feedback they receive. 

11 – Setting a work vision for your team

good leaders set the vision for their team

One key job of any leader is to take the company’s big vision and digest it into a functional vision for their team. For example, if the company vision is to be the best house builder in the world and you’re a marketing leader, you need to figure out what it is about marketing that will help the company be the best in the world. You may see your job, then, as responsible for making sure that everyone in the world knows your company’s name.

If everyone knows the company, then you have a better opportunity to work with high quality suppliers and gain access to high quality land – all in the service of building the best homes in the world. 

How to set a vision for your team: Reverse engineer the company’s vision by going step-by-step backward then intersecting each step with your team’s competency or area of expertise. Take the house example for instance. If you want to build the best houses, what is needed? Probably the best materials, the best land, and the best contractors. In order to work with the best contractors and get the best materials, people need to know who you are. You also probably need to deeply understand your target buyer so you know what “best” means to them.

As a marketer, doing research on customer personas and developing a strategy to connect with the right partners is right in your wheelhouse, so it naturally fits as a potential team vision.

10 – Run productive 1:1 meetings

top qualities of leadership: running good 1:1 meetings

As a leader, one of your only jobs is motivating your individual contributors to do their best work. Once you have a work vision set so your team knows where to focus, you will need to work with people on an individual level. The most common way to do this is through the one on one meeting. Typically a weekly or bi-weekly check in, these meetings cover the employee’s work and accomplishments but also focus on the employee as a human with goals and lives outside of work. 

How to run better 1:1 meetings: The best 1:1 meetings focus on the employee as a whole person. This means looking at not only work accomplishments but also what’s going on in their lives outside work. Look towards making 1:1 meetings more inclusive so that employees feel more comfortable being honest with you. Then learn more about their goals and personal desires, seeing how you can help them manifest what they want through their job.

When you link their motivations outside work to their jobs, you have a higher likelihood of building trust, increasing engagement, and increasing productivity.

9 – Data orientation

great leaders have a data orientation

According to the Future of Work report by RBC, digital literacy is essential for all employees going forward. Technology (including artificial intelligence) is too prevalent in the working world for people to ignore it. The same goes for managers – if employees need digital literacy, one of the top qualities of leadership is data orientation. This will not only help leaders understand data and its implications but also help them lead digitally literate teams.

How to become more data oriented: If you’re not usually a data-driven person (for instance, those who prefer to make decisions on gut feeling), don’t fret. One of the easiest ways to shift your mindset from gut-driven to data-driven to look at data first. You don’t need to overhaul your entire way of thinking and acting. Instead, start with data every time before making a gut call.

Let the data inform your gut decision reflex, which by now is likely quite strong. The result will usually be more sound decision making. If you end up going against the data and it doesn’t work out, you’ll end up training your gut decision making reflex to listen to the data more often. 

8 – The ability to listen

top qualities of leadership: listening

Listening is a tough skill because each person takes in what someone else says and puts it through their own mental filters. We all do this because every person has slightly different experiences and understandings based on our background. This is a great thing when it comes to diversity in business but can be difficult when it comes to qualities of great leaders. 

How to become a better listener: To cultivate listening, clarify your understanding. When someone tells you something, repeat back what you thought you heard or what you understood from their point. Then give them the chance to confirm your understanding or clarify. This can feel uncomfortable at first (or even downright stupid if something feels obvious to you or the other person).

However, over time this skill becomes much easier. The key benefit is that it ensures that you are on the same page with the other person. It may sound counterintuitive that you need to talk more to listen better, but clarifying your understanding is a great way to not only improve your listening skills but also learn to process information more efficiently with different people. 

7 – Upward management

Managers don’t just manage their team - they have to manage executive expectations

When you become a manager, you’re most often placed right in the middle. You’re above individual contributors on your team in the hierarchy, but below senior executives and leadership. Depending on the size of your organization, there may be multiple layers of “management” before you get to “leadership.”

This makes upward management – setting expectations and delivering for the people above you in the hierarchy – just as important as setting expectations for your team to deliver on. 

How to get better at upward management: The first step, if this is not already formalized in your organization, is to ask for regular meetings with anyone that you are directly accountable to. This means if you owe someone an explanation for work or if they are assigning you tasks or helping you set vision – make sure you meet with them. Weekly is ideal, though bi-weekly or monthly works as well the more senior the person gets. 

Once you have the meeting set out, come prepared with what you believe you need to accomplish. However, use this time to get feedback on tactics, ask for clarity if anything they’ve assigned you is unclear, and collect new assignments or updates. Since more senior people tend to have much more context about the organization than junior people (even new managers like you), this time will be invaluable for helping you get, and stay, on the right path.

6 – Caring for your team’s mental health

Mental health first aid is a crucial part of management

When you manage other people, you have to work with them as they come. While you may only be managing their work output from 9 am to 5 pm (or whenever your office hours are), what happens in the rest of their lives will impact their performance at work. So when a person you’re managing has a rough time with something outside the office, it can severely impact how well they work that day (or week). 

In order to be a strong manager, you need to know how to care for your team’s mental health. This does not mean you have to be a therapist nor does it mean you have to compromise on work quality because someone is simply having a bad day. However, knowing some basic mental health first aid – which is a fancy way of saying “ways you can check in on someone without intruding on their personal lives” – will help you get more from your team and connect more strongly with them. 

How to get better at caring for your team’s mental health: One of the easiest ways to start with caring for your team’s mental health is to inject some time in your one on one meetings to talk about your team’s lives outside work. This doesn’t mean you need to gossip with them or hear about family drama – you can ask very simple questions like their goals outside of work or about other volunteering they do. 

If you’re not comfortable talking about your team members’ personal lives, you don’t have to ask about their family or significant other. But asking about their goals, challenges, and where they want work to fit in their lives can go a long way to showing your team that you care.

5 – Recruiting

When you manage the team, you also have to grow the team

Once you hit manager or leader level, your job is not about performing any specific tasks. Instead, it’s about making sure your team is able to do their jobs well. In many cases, the business might want to do something that the team doesn’t have the capacity or skillset for. In that case, you have two options: train your team or bring in people to help. 

The need to grow or shift the team happens frequently in any growing company, making recruiting a key trait of all good leaders. 

Now, recruiting doesn’t mean that you need to become an expert in HR technology and get a diploma in human resources. Instead, it means that you need to have a good network or be present in the community that you want to hire in. From there, you need to be able to communicate why people should come work for the company and, more importantly, your team. 

How to get better at recruiting: Recruiting is a mix of being present and meeting candidates combined with being able to convince them to come work for you. Gone are the days when a salary was enough to get great talent – studies show that people want to work for brands they believe in and managers they trust more now than ever. 

So as you work to upskill your recruiting game, consider the two factors – showing up and convincing people. 

Showing up means building your network. This can be done in a lot of ways such as coffee chats, going to meetups, or leveraging social media and blogging. There is no one size fits all, though relevant meetup events are a good way to get a large number of candidates in one room for you to meet. 

However you choose to grow your network, make sure it’s something that both feels authentic to who you are (introverts, for example, may feel more comfortable on social media than at a meetup event) and helps you find relevant candidates. If you need to hire marketers, for example, you probably don’t want your social media presence to only focus on operations and HR. Even if you got a big following, it likely wouldn’t help you find great marketing candidates. 

When you’re working on your “pitch” to get people to join your team, make sure you know your “one liner.” This is one sentence that quickly introduces: 1) Your company. 2) What your company does. 3) What you do. And 4) Why your company is unique or intriguing. 

For example, “I’m the [job title] for X company, which is the largest manufacturer of ABC widgets in the country.” 

Using this one liner gives you an opportunity to quickly engage with a lot of people. It also helps you find interested people quickly, because if someone doesn’t care about ABC widget or working for a big company, they may not be a fit for the example company above. 

4 – Interviewing

A good leader needs to know how to interview people for their team

When you’re an individual contributor, you may have helped out with interviewing. You talk to a new candidate, ask them a few questions, and share your opinion with the team before they are hired (or not). Or maybe you didn’t do this at all and your boss or HR did all the hiring. Either way, you didn’t have much invested in the process. Yes, you wanted good teammates. But it didn’t rest on your shoulders. You could provide your thoughts then move on. 

Great leaders, though, must be good at interviewing. 

When you lead a team, you will have to add people to it at some point. This can either be backfilling a role when someone leaves the company or growing the team, but you will need to pick people to work with you. That means being able to interview – identifying the best possible people for a role and for your team – is a necessary trait for great leaders. 

Luckily, interviewing is a trait that can be learned. You don’t have to be born as a stellar interviewer. You don’t even need to be extraverted. There are many wonderful leaders who are introverts by nature and prefer to talk about deeper topics than just focusing on a list of questions. Regardless of your personality type, interviewing is a trait you can develop as a leader. 

How to get better at interviewing: A big part of interviewing is being able to assess whether a person is a good fit for the role you need, a good fit for the team, and a good fit for the company. Since you have three levels to think about – specific role, team, and company – your interviews have to encompass all three areas. 

When you start the hiring process, be clear about defining what is the right “fit” for each level. Once you know what you need from an employee on each level, develop questions and directly speak to each level so you can assess the candidate properly. For example, if you need someone to lead projects, you’ll likely want to ask the candidate to talk about previous projects they’ve led. 

If you have HR in your company, partner with them to make sure that other processes are followed. If you don’t have HR and you’re working alone, knowing what you’re looking for and developing standard questions to ask every candidate is a big step to developing a knack for interviewing. Many people think a good interview is ad-hoc, but the truth is the best ones are planned in advance. 

3 – The ability to give up control

A true leader knows they have to give up control to be successful

When many people envision a leader, they think about kings, queens, or army generals. They think about strong-willed, brilliant people who take advice from their deputies but make every decision themselves. Then they see a large group of people doing what they are told – and the project or mission is a success. In the modern workplace, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

While the image of a strong leader who makes every decision sounds cool, the reality of the modern workplace is that one of the best traits in a leader is the ability to give up control. 

In the time of kings and queens making every decision, the world was much smaller and much simpler. There were far fewer industries and little, if any technology. In the modern world, it’s nearly impossible for a leader to know everything there is to know about their domain. Even a marketing leader, for example, won’t know every single sub-topic of marketing such as content, social, paid, organic, remarketing, analytics, automation, and more. 

How to get better at giving up control as a leader: The increase in complexity means that a good leader is one who can give up control to the people they trust. This is usually along the lines of giving up control to the people who are capable of doing the job. So in the marketing example, the analytics expert has ‘control’ of the analytics dashboard and the social expert has ‘control’ over social media. 

The job of the leader, then, is not about having control. It’s about making sure the pieces all fit together. The marketing analytics person only does analysis to see if projects are working. The social person only runs social to get the word out about products and services. Every person on the team has control over their part, and the leader makes sure each person is working towards the same goal. 

A great leader gives up control of how things are executed. They instead give that control to experts while they set the guidelines of what everyone is working towards. That way, teams can not only scale more easily but they are often more productive. 

2 – Public speaking

Every leader will need to speak in public at some point

When people hear “public speaking” they often think of big stages or talking at a conference. Either way, there’s an assumption that the audience probably doesn’t know you personally. However, that’s not always the case. Public speaking can be any time you have to get your message across to multiple people. This could even just be you leading a team meeting or giving updates at a company town hall.

The fact that public speaking can happen any time in the day of a leader, it’s a necessary trait that all good leaders have. 

To speak publicly doesn’t necessarily mean you’re super comfortable on stage and own it like a celebrity. Bonus points if you do. Instead, it means you can confidently share the required message in front of a group. It means you’re able to handle the attention being focused on you with multiple people either counting on you or looking for guidance. 

How to become a better public speaker: Practice! The more you do it, the better you become. It’s as simple as that. 

To learn more quickly, though – and save yourself some embarrassment hopefully – watch other people who speak publicly. You can learn from your favourite celebrity if you want to. Or you can look at talks more similar to the business world, such as TED Talks or Ideacity Talks.

The more you watch others, the more you can see what they do that’s unique. You can also see what they do that the audience responds to versus sits silently at. Not that you need to become an entertainer, but the more engaging you can be while speaking, the more people will pay attention to the message you have to share. 

1 – Building an inclusive team environment

All good leaders must create a team environment where everyone can contribute

Diversity and inclusion is a hot buzzword in the workplace today, but the idea of an inclusive team environment goes a bit deeper than the buzz. It’s not about any one identity becoming superior or inferior to each other. Instead, it’s about making sure every person on your team is able to voice their opinions about work the team is tackling. Then it’s about making sure everyone is aware of what their work is and has the necessary tools to complete it. 

If that description of “inclusive” sounds a lot like “just a good working environment,” you’d be right: teams thrive when everyone can share their opinions and has the tools they need to succeed. 

How to a more inclusive manager: The key to inclusion is identifying what everyone needs in order to come out of their shell. Some people are naturally talkative. Some are more reserved. Others may only talk when asked to share, despite the fact that they have strong, intelligent opinions.

As you get to know your team more, you’ll learn the nuances of each human individually. These can come out at any moment – during a team meeting, during a 1:1, or when they are working. The more you pay attention to how each of your team member operates, the more you can give everyone the little things they need to succeed. 

When you do that, you’ll build a more inclusive team naturally. And as people feel more welcome and included, it becomes a natural growth that will help you and your team produce better work product through collaboration, productive disagreement (when people disagree and everyone explains their point), and from fresh ideas coming to the table.

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