Leadership is identified as one of Matter’s top soft skills that is linked to performance and career success. Contrary to popular belief, soft skills like leadership can also be learned and developed just like any hard skills. Matter helps professionals tease out blindspots and areas for growth in skills like leadership through regular peer-to-peer feedback.
Definition of Leadership: Leads, motivates, and inspires your team and/or company.
Everyone experiences leadership differently. John C. Maxwell sums up this up very well: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Effective leadership boosts business productivity because it motivates and empowers individuals on a team to take ownership and feel confident in their work. Great leaders embrace a growth mindset, which encourages transparency, honesty, and feedback. Leaders model the way by normalizing failures as opportunities to grow.
Susan Wojcicki: As the CEO of Youtube, Wojcicki understood the critical role that feedback and motivation played in leading the world’s largest video sharing platform. In an interview, she credited her ability to listen and receive feedback as her strongest assets of becoming a good leader, adding that “As you get more senior, your job is to hear what’s not working so you can make it better.” Under her leadership, YouTube grew to over 1.5 billion users.
Joel Gascoigne: The CEO and cofounder of Buffer wanted to build a different kind of company that prioritizes transparency and the happiness of his team. Gascoigne encourages other companies to be transparent in how they operate and compensate their employees. To model the way, he openly shares Buffer’s revenue, salaries, fundraising, and company roadmap to the public.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The U.S. Supreme Court Justice is known for her unwavering commitment to gender equality and women’s rights. Ginsburg understands that leaders must decisive and thoughtful, but also collaborative. Despite being on the polar opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, Ginsburg was a close friend of the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
Acting Confidently: Leaders who are confident are viewed by their peers as more effective and more likely to foster creative thinking. Demonstrate confidence on the outside, even when you don’t feel it on the inside. We are all afraid on occasion, that is part of being human.
Collaborating with others: Countless studies have demonstrated that when companies embrace their collaborative instincts, they reap dividends in innovation, performance, and employee retention. Collaboration requires a leader who asks people their opinions and spends time on team formation.
Being decisive: Even indecision is a decision. Leaders need to make tough decisions in a timely manner. Making tough decisions won’t make you popular immediately, but in the long run, your team will appreciate the lack of confusion that comes from a leader who doesn’t keep people in limbo.
Delegating tasks: One of the most difficult transitions for leaders to make is the shift from doing to leading. Delegation helps to boost team morale, increase productivity, and promotes enthusiasm, innovation, and cooperation, all of which are vital to a company’s bottom line.
Inspiring others: Inspired employees are more than twice as productive as employees who are simply satisfied. The ability to inspire is what employees want most in their leaders, and what separates the best leaders from everyone else.
Keeping your promises: What’s your Say:Do ratio? The ”Say:Do Ratio” is the modern, measurable version of “keep your promises.” It is the ratio of the number of things said by a person to the number of things that they have actually done. Ideally, your ratio is 1:1. Doing what you say you’ll do fosters integrity and trust, which are crucial for high performing teams.
Recognizing others’ accomplishments: A leader makes other people feel important and appreciated. Use powerful, positive language that is specific to the accomplishments of the person with whom you’re interacting. Sincere recognition makes people feel important and encourages people to continue doing more great work in the future.
Setting well-defined goals: Well-defined goals help people understand what is expected. Measurable goals provide milestones to track progress as well as to motivate employees towards goal success. There are several goal setting frameworks like OKR (Objectives and Key Results) and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely).
Showing honesty and integrity: Leaders can only inspire and motivate followers if they have gained their trust and respect. To do this, they have to show honesty and integrity. Someone who never veers from inner values, no matter what outside pressures, stresses, or temptations are on offer is a leader to be respected and trusted.
Spreading optimism: Great leaders know things will get better because they will make them better. Studies have shown that people who are optimistic are more likely to work hard to achieve their goals (and encourage others to do the same).
Who can benefit from practicing leadership? Matter is helping professionals at all levels get actionable feedback to improve their leadership.
Leadership shouldn’t be practiced in a vacuum. Improve your leadership by exploring and developing these complementary skills.