Great teams and organizations are built on the support of great leaders, and to become a great leader requires intense self-reflection and commitment to a growth mindset. Keith Yamashita, SYPartners Chairman and Founder, recently shared this insight and more tips for cultivating creative leadership as a guest on our Creative Confidence Series webcast.
Keith has devoted decades to helping human beings, organizations, and societies become fuller, more vibrant versions of themselves. As an instructor in our class From Superpowers to Great Teams, Keith shares ways to bring out the best in yourself — and in your collaborators — at work. While the end goal may be radical transformation, the path toward it isn’t made up of huge actions. In fact, the surest way to achieve change is through micro-actions every day.
Try these two small but impactful actions to improve your effectiveness as a leader and show your team that you value their time and prioritize their experience with you.
“Self-awareness starts by being present in the moment and really being there for people.”
Fight the urge to multitask. Your team can tell when they have your undivided attention and when your head’s somewhere else. While it may feel productive to jump into emails during a meeting, in the long run, you’ll benefit from the deep, authentic connections you can create by being fully present.
“Self-awareness starts by being present in the moment and really being there for people,” Keith says.
Take the example of a meeting Keith led for a client team in New York. Just as the meeting was getting underway, there was a widespread blackout and the power went out across the city. The client assumed they would pack up and reconvene another day, but Keith suggested moving forward with the meeting in the dark. To everyone’s surprise, it was an extremely productive few hours. With no PowerPoint, email, or even lights on, people had to really listen to each other and work to truly express themselves.
While technology is amazing in many ways, it can be a distraction too. Next time you’re in a meeting where lots of creativity and attention are required, try putting your phones and laptops into the middle of the table and reverting to note taking with paper, Post-It notes, or whiteboards.
“You get addicted to the presence of brilliant people,” Keith says. “And once you get addicted to the presence of others, you don’t squander that by looking at your screens.”
“You get addicted to the presence of brilliant people. And once you get addicted to the presence of others, you don’t squander that by looking at your screens.”
Ask for Feedback
As a leader, the best way to quickly figure out potential areas of improvement is to ask your team. Giving feedback to a superior can be uncomfortable for many people, so they may not offer it unless you ask. Pick the mechanism that feels right for you, but to be most effective, ask for feedback in the moment instead of waiting for an annual review or other “official” feedback channel.
For example, at the end of a meeting, ask questions like:
- How was your interaction with me?
- What did you not express that I could have created a better stage for?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how was that meeting for you? What would have made it better?
Giving your reports the opportunity to share feedback can build trust and open the door to more honest, consistent communication on your team.
Turning micro-actions into habits
These two actions, combined with many other micro-actions every day, will help you stay conscious of your leadership style and tuned into your team’s needs. To turn these actions into consistent elements of your management approach and nudge your team towards the behaviors you want to see more of, make them into rituals shared by your team.
Learn more about how to build stronger relationships and nurture team collaboration in our on-demand class, From Superpowers to Great Teams.