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Team Leadership Excellence Check-In

written byNikol Kuiken, MNLP, PCCon 17/02/2021

COVID-19’s impact on the world of business is everchanging. There is now a major restructuring of the way we work in the modern world as businesses begin to re-emerge into a changing marketplace. Indeed, the pandemic revealed many and varied problems that the business world had to quickly adapt to deal with. The businesses that developed their response to the pandemic through leadership excellence are now looking ahead to focus on new solutions as the business world undergoes unprecedented changes in 2021.

Leadership excellence requires constant self-reflection and agility. With this in mind, it’s important to assess how well you put your leadership skills to use. Take the time for self-reflection and use the checklist below to review how effectively you managed your teams during these difficult times.

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Leadership excellence self-reflect checklist:

1. Did your team stay committed to the vision and values?

Crises bring out the best and worst in us, it may have been challenging to keep your vision clear and act in congruency with the values of the company. However, a lack of clarity in the face of uncertainty is unsettling and leads to confusion and procrastination. Did you take a step back and review your team’s shared vision and values? Ideally, the focus was on what was critical to moving your business towards its vision and taking care of the human element of your team at the same time. Building great virtual teams that remain connected and collaborative, and keeping them energized, focused and working harmoniously is no small feat in these challenging times! If your team benefitted from your leadership excellence to keep them on purpose, on track and in vision while remaining resourceful during the pandemic, then you deserve to reward yourself.

2. Did you communicate effectively?

Being transparent, flexible and accommodating as possible while still encouraging productivity is a necessity during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only that, the situation called for great adaptability, the potential to pivot to current restrictions and realities as well as timely communication around the clock as lives and events changed and developed. We all know that, as Theo Gold says, communication is “your ticket to success, if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively.”  

Taking a coach approach to leadership and communication, where you ask vs tell, and listen globally (not just the words but also the meaning and context) supports leadership excellence. Indeed, during the pandemic, it was (and still is) important to learn how to communicate with empathy. At times, it may have even been necessary to break bad news. If you managed to reassure your team that they were being heard and listen to within your decision-making processes, then you displayed leadership excellence.

3. Did you trust in your team?

Working remotely creates a myriad of unknowns and new responsibilities that teams need to tackle. Maybe not everyone in the team has the technology or is tech-savvy enough to work from home with maximum efficiency. Maybe team members’ availability changed due to the fact that they were trying to work around their responsibilities and as parents or caregivers at home. Therefore, it was necessary to demonstrate flexibility while establishing clear expectations around deadlines and decision-making processes with your team, and then trust in them to get the job done. If you were flexible and adaptive while empowering your team to take responsibility to get the job done, You showed leadership excellence.

4. Did you empower your team?

When facing rapidly changing demands, critical decisions need to be made. Some leaders might respond by tightening the reins of control and try to steer the ship without input from those around them or try to micromanage every detail. However, great teams benefit from having multiple perspectives on current challenges, as well as staying Solution-Focused on desired outcomes. During the pandemic, empowering team members to share meaningful perspectives and taking into account their input so that the team moves towards the necessary and wanted outcomes was key. When working towards the vision of the company, as a leader did you keep yourself up to date on the challenges of working remotely and the impacts on your team? From a place of leadership, what are some of the ways you incorporated the collective wisdom and insights shared by your team and how did you empower your team to focus on the solutions?

5. Did you invest in yourself?

Leading a team through any crisis can be very demanding, let alone one of the global proportions. The tough choices and hard decisions that need to be made can prove taxing in the best of times. Investing in your own wellbeing is crucial in order to keep available, energized and remain both curious and flexible. Did you use the pandemic to level up your coach approach to the leadership game by reading well-chosen books to gain insight? Did you invest in a skill-based coaching program to improve your competency? Doing so will ensure you continue to evolve your leadership skills and competencies. You want to trust your instincts in taking the right course of action, right? Investing in yourself will make you a leader with the confidence, capability and competency to face whatever challenges await you.

  • Did your team stay on purpose?
  • Did you communicate effectively?
  • Did you trust your team?
  • Did you empower your team?
  • Did you invest in yourself?

This check-in is designed to highlight the areas you are already excelling in and those that may need your attention as a leader. Leading and coaching great virtual teams requires leadership excellence, and you can only achieve this through constant reflection and upskilling. Developing your coaching skills will enable you to embrace the challenges that invariably lie ahead with gusto. As Albert Einstein once said: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”

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