With the business world changing due to several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and remote/hybrid working conditions, the ability for leaders to influence others is becoming more challenging. As work-related challenges and risks increase, it is becoming increasingly important for leaders to deliver on their responsibilities and make an impact using their positions.
Many new leaders are beginning to realise that a leadership title and management status does not automatically translate to trust and respect from their team(s). The grief, loss and pressure of the post-COVID work environment may make it difficult for employees to open up to their leaders until their leaders make an effort to connect with them.
A common question that you may come across from leaders today is, “How can I increase my impact as a leader?”
Recently, Ebere Akadiri sat with Seun Awolowo, the Executive Director and Vice President, London at Goldman Sachs, in an interview. Seun expressed that for leaders to lead with impact, they should always focus on their strengths. She said, “you’ll get a marginal benefit from trying to improve on one of your areas for development. But if you double down on your strengths, you’ll get even more of a benefit from that, and you’ll be able to stand out.”
In addition to Seun’s tips, here are some steps that you can take to help you navigate this period and the unique challenges which may come up to boost your leadership impact:
Focus On Being Effective
Although it is important to build a culture of trust and community among your team, it is more productive to focus on being an effective leader by clearly defining your goals for the team/project. You can push this further by involving your team in the planning and execution process, reviewing the failures to improve the processes, creating more successful results, and giving your team the necessary support to help them be productive and succeed. Focused implementation will prove your worth to the team, and eventually, being liked and respected will be achieved.
Maintain Your Authenticity
The vulnerability of authenticity helps build relationships and team spirit. Also, being genuinely interested in the opinions of your team while remaining true to your vision for realising the organisation’s goals will help you create successful results that are in line with the team’s culture and goals.
Engage Your Team In Finding Creative Solutions
Just like Seun Awolowo’s team on the Launch With GS project, engaging your team to create solutions/results that will not only contribute to the team’s and organisation’s success but will positively impact the industry or community around the organisation.
The underlying importance of making an impact as a leader is not about the personal accolades but your service to your team, organisation and community. Instead of focusing on your likability as a person or leader, it is more productive to focus on your presence as a leader, and part of the team adds to the overall results.
For more on this topic, listen to the Rise To Leadership Podcast (EP5: Leading With Impact with The Executive Director and Vice President at Goldman Sachs in London, Seun Awolowo) on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or YouTube.