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Leadership Excellence in a Changing Landscape
Tempo de leitura: 4 minutos

Leadership Excellence in a Changing Landscape

by Marta Alegria, Talent Engagement Manager

A conscious and effective leadership! That’s what we believe in and try to foster at Xpand IT to have a management team that is aware of the psychological and relational dynamics that affect the well-being and performance of their teams, and that knows how to make use of the best strategies when it comes to leading people.

From our core values to what we practice daily emerges a commitment to enable individual growth, continuous learning, trust, collaboration, and (at the centre of it all) excellence. These are not just buzzwords but actual ingredients that drive all talent management processes and many internal success metrics.

But why and how?

The reason why can be more obvious, so let’s keep it simple and remember that, as a company, we are in it for the long run. Our goal is not to win just today but to fulfil our mission and have a more significant impact in the future.

We want to inspire other companies to achieve outstanding results through technology. How inspiring is that!?

Of course, to achieve it, we need every Xpander to be a leader and an ‘infinite player’ (read Simon Sinek (2019) “Infinite Game”). To have a company made of leaders is to build a working environment where everyone understands the mission, knows how to contribute with their skills and attitude, and is autonomous in working towards it and making decisions that benefit the whole. It means having a setting where people discuss principles, develop critical thinking and care for long-term impacts.

This is particularly challenging nowadays when people tend to be more isolated and look for instant gratification. Several studies show that this is the true epidemic of our time, which started with the boom of social media around 2010 and was severely aggravated by COVID-19 in 2020. Several examples in today’s world prove this to be a trend that promotes disconnection and misery. Of course, our 30-year-old-average workforce in a technological company that wants to be as agile as it was when it started in 2003 is no exception.

Leaders must become aware of these dynamics and work on solid skills to be effective amid modern leadership challenges, both in small and large businesses.

Ok, now can we drill down the ‘how’ part?

To rise to these challenges and fulfil our responsibility of inspiring people to mature and make a difference through their talents and passions, I believe working continuously and consciously on specific critical skills is important. These make a huge difference in how we navigate day-to-day leadership:

Work continuously on your communication skills.

This continues to be paramount to keep people in sync effectively and focused on achieving the goals you set for them. Specifically, the ability to convey your vision and expectations clearly, adapt your communication (content and style) to the other person’s profile, and be confident, positive, assertive and constructive when sharing your thoughts or giving feedback.

Clarify the purpose and reinforce it regularly.

A clear sense of purpose is the most powerful motivator that helps keep actions and decisions aligned with the company’s mission and values while also maintaining the right course, despite setbacks and possible detours.

Purpose-driven leaders inspire their teams to give their best efforts towards a shared vision, resulting in greater engagement, productivity, and resilience. These are critical qualities for a team that wants to have a high performance and to bounce back from setbacks quickly.

Stimulate self-leadership and high agency.

Projects are managed, and people are coached. Focus on being a facilitator who helps your people think about alternative solutions and multiple consequences to broaden their awareness and learn to make better decisions, taking risks and responsibility for the results of their choices, whether good or bad. This means that you refrain from telling your people what to do but instead ask questions about the problem, their perspective, the solutions they believe are appropriate and the predictable outcomes. An interesting article by Shreyas Doshi dives into how this works. The most critical role that a leader can play is to teach guiding principles to their people so that they integrate them into their way of thinking. If this is done continuously, team members will become increasingly more accountable, autonomous, and leaders (for themselves and others). Moreover, this approach ensures that the leader nurtures the existing talent within the team and creates opportunities for personal growth.

Be trustworthy and honourable.

Ethical leadership is non-negotiable! This means protecting the confidentiality and trust that people place in you, having a solid moral compass, and being transparent, coherent, and consistent in your actions and decisions. This allows leaders to earn all stakeholders’ trust and respect and set an example for their teams. This also means that the leader, as a reference to others in the way of thinking and acting, should consider the side consequences of what is said and decided.

Empower innovation and growth.

When leaders are forward-thinking and committed to progress, they set high standards for themselves and their teams, driving continuous improvement and enabling individual growth, a critical engagement factor. Additionally, everybody’s focus turns to looking for the right things to do and the right way to achieve the intended results more efficiently.

Strengthen the data that supports your decision-making.

It is well established that data-driven decision-making improves your confidence and ability to influence others. You can learn how to leverage data and analytics to understand the problems you are trying to solve and to make informed decisions.

Know your emotions and hormones and keep them in check.

A great leader knows how to recognise and boost positive emotions and human connection to collect the benefits of interdependence. Practising and encouraging empathy, gratitude, kindness, and assertiveness can make a huge difference.

In conclusion, leadership is about more than achieving short-term goals! It is about inspiring change and commitment, influencing others in the way they think and act, and having a vision and a path to make it real through others. It’s about responsibility!

Just like different role models and other role models (parents and teachers, for example), who are responsible for connecting positively and inspiring development through great examples, leaders should realise the full scope of their role and face it with the deserved honour. Promoting self-awareness, intellectual humility and human connection in others translates into responsible leadership, allowing us to move towards a more balanced, healthy and sustainable reality.

Without a common goal, there is no team; without a purpose, there is no commitment; without shared base principles, there is no autonomy; without an ‘above the line’ attitude, there is no endurance; and without accountability, there is no sustainable growth.

When leaders understand this and what is behind it, they can create more than a team – a community! And therefore, make an impact at various levels for future generations.