Akhil Shahani, an EO Mumbai member and director of the Shahani Group
As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that successful management requires more than just assigning tasks to a team. It calls for a leader who can inspire team members to achieve their fullest potential. People want to be guided by a person they respect, someone who has a clear sense of direction. To be that person, I’ve discovered that there are certain things an entrepreneur must be, know and do. Here are some of the things that I try to accomplish on a daily basis:
Test the Waters: I make it a point to find out what people think about my style of management. This could be a real eye-opener for me, but it is also the key to making changes to my leadership style. I have found that creating a relaxing and open environment within the company will help draw out their honest opinions.
Listen Carefully: When my team members speak to me about their work-related worries, I do my best to stop what I’m doing and hear them out. It takes practise, but “staying present” is integral to ensuring your staff feels supported. I make it a point to convey empathy, ask clarifying questions and suggest alternatives to help create internal leadership. Great leaders are great listeners!
Make a Connection: As the boss, it’s so easy to get carried away with what you’re doing.I’ve learned to take complete responsibility for how I am heard, and I always try to rephrase my message positively. Effective communication is a fine art.
Let Them in on the Decision-Making Process: For most people, change is particularly hard to swallow. If I involve my team in the decision-making process, chances are I’ll improve the odds of a successful implementation when it comes to projects and tasks.
Trust Your Team: An integral part of creating leadership from within is learning to respect your team’s capabilities. To do this, I let my team members make decisions on certain issues. Instead of being a watchdog, I actively show them that I trust their judgment.
Leave No Room for Doubt: I communicate to my team my expectations for their performance, I tell them why the team has been formed and I explain how important they are to the organization. You can’t get anywhere if there’s no buy in.
Review Progress and Praise: Periodically, I make sure to talk through the team’s progress, so everyone knows where they’re headed. I find it’s important to have everyone on the same page. I also anticipate and recognize my staff’s achievements, and reward extra-special performance to motivate them to take on further challenges.
Make Room for Innovation: In order to stay accessible and approachable, I tell my team that I’m open to creative thinking, unique solutions and new ideas, even if they sound a little wacky at first. By allowing for a measure of risk taking, I may find the answers I never knew I needed.
Enjoy the Experience: Last but not least, I make it fun for staff to work with one another. People rarely remember what you say, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. I’ve found that to be the crux of leadership team-building!