10 Effective Leadership Strategies to Improve Team Performance

10 Effective Leadership Strategies to Improve Team Performance

As a good leader or manager, one of your most important goals is to build a high-performing team that delivers consistently. This team needs no follow-ups, is committed to the job, and everyone constantly learns and improves to raise the bar. 

Good leadership is more about having the right attitude than technical skills. Good skills can be taught—whereas attitude is developed over a period of time. 

However, a Gallup study revealed that only 1 in 10 people possess the inherent talent of good management. For most managers, being an effective leader requires constant improvement of leadership skills and strategies for better performance and collaboration. 

Effective leadership makes the difference between an organization that struggles because of the lack of planning, and one that thrives due to strategic planning by the leaders. 

This post discusses 10 effective leadership strategies to influence your team members to improve performance and exceed expectations every time.

What is a Leadership Strategy?

A leadership strategy is a set of methods, tactics, and attitudes used by leaders to guide and motivate their teams and align them to organizational goals.

It allows the organization’s culture and value system to align with ideas and impact, creating a mental and emotional influence with far-reaching consequences. 

An effective leadership strategy provides a structured vision that sets the team members and senior management on the path to success and productivity. 

Importance of Having a Leadership Strategy

Imagine driving on an unfamiliar route without a map. Without directions or guidance, you might end up getting lost. 

Without vision, knowledge, and feedback, it would be impossible to create long-term success in an organization. 

With a solid leadership strategy, you will find it easier to lead teams, delegate responsibility, and foster a culture of innovation at the workplace. From managing expectations and engaging employees to making them more productive, your leadership will empower qualitative changes in teams and team members. 

Let’s look at the benefits of strategic leadership skills to help you be a better manager.

Influences behavior

Strategic leaders will anticipate, influence, engage, support, and empower team members to respond to market and industry trends and customer preferences. In any business, the leadership strategy largely influences behavior. 

An effective leader will envision the future, make final decisions, collaborate with peers and industry leaders, and guide the team to create strategies to achieve business goals. 

Attracts and manages talent 

One of the main qualities of a successful manager is attracting and retaining talent.  The right leadership strategy will identify the best talents and motivate them to give their best performance. Good managers can be defined by their ability to build and lead high-performing teams. 

Drives results 

An effective leadership strategy is critical for the execution of multiple organizational strategies. 

Good leaders have the ability to create the right environment for their team members to achieve and exceed organizational goals. They actively drive for outcomes, track progress, and create an environment for team members to improve performance as needed. 

Facilitates changes in business strategy 

Creating and implementing business strategies is time-consuming. What’s even more difficult is to change direction when needed and get the team’s buy-in. During this stage, strong leaders have the ability to encourage the team, align everyone on the vision, and motivate them to work toward the new business strategy, objective, and goal. 

In summary, with a leadership strategy in place, your organization is better placed to achieve its plans for the future. 

Impacts of an Effective Leadership Strategy

Here are some ways great leaders and effective leadership strategies shape the organization. 

Spot more opportunities 

Big-picture leaders look ahead to the future instead of solely focusing on daily operations, which keeps them ahead of the competition. 

Visionary leadership helps you identify opportunities to establish more efficient processes, products, and business models before your competitors catch up. 

Train other leaders 

An important impact of leadership strategy is to see great leaders passing their skills to the next generation. After all, good leaders instinctively understand the business landscape and experience joy in watching their colleagues grow and succeed.  

Build a stronger organizational culture 

Great leadership is a top-down approach that improves the culture of the organization. A team always reflects the leader’s beliefs and attitudes. With inspirational leaders, the organization becomes more transparent and innovative, guiding each team member’s behavior towards each other and customers. 

Reach higher revenues 

Great leaders will motivate the staff to work hard, stop wasting time, optimize workflows, and engage more with what they’re doing, improving their productivity and quality of work. Strategic leadership develops a culture of passion where each team member strives to produce their best work for the good of all.

10 Leadership Strategies to Improve Team Performance

Strategic leadership can transform an ordinary organization into a high-performing team, generating more impact and producing better results. Here are the 10 leadership strategies you can implement to engage and support your team optimally. 

1. Define and articulate your vision 

The main job of the leadership is to understand the big picture, analyze the situation from all angles, and articulate the company’s strategy. 

More than creating a detailed plan or setting targets, this is more about sharing a compelling narrative about the future and the vision your stakeholders and employees will buy into. 

Have a clear vision explaining the company’s long-term goals and inspiring and motivating your workforce towards the broader goals.

If your team believes in your vision, they’ll do everything possible to bring it to fruition. Develop a team culture where everyone can see your vision in action. Give team members the chance to visualize the difference they’re making. 

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams

2. Recognize everyone’s achievements 

Recognition makes a person feel valued and appreciated. Every time someone in your team goes above and beyond expectations to achieve their goals, celebrate and acknowledge their commitment to your company’s mission. 

Managers often overlook the simple principle of “what gets rewarded gets repeated”. Don’t overlook the  impact of positive reinforcement.

For example, when you talk to your customer service reps, tell them what a great job they’re doing and how they help move the company forward. If you receive a note from a customer about how a support representative helped them, share this with the team. 

Let your team know how critical they are to your business and why the company needs them. It will help them work with renewed energy and enthusiasm. 

People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards.

Dale Carnegie

3. Communicate effectively 

Communication is a critical skill not just for leaders and managers but for anyone who wishes to be successful. You must be able to communicate your vision, the business strategy to get there, and how each person will contribute to the company’s goals. 

In fact, the best organizations have a culture of active two-way communication. This encourages an open exchange of ideas and fosters greater collaboration.  

An organization that communicates well with its workforce will see positive results in staff engagement levels. This powerful motivator is linked to the communication skills of the leader. 

Great leaders communicate and great communicators lead.

Simon Sinek

4. Anticipate what could happen 

Once you know how to articulate your vision, look at it from a broader perspective and identify the potential challenges and innovations your business might face shortly. 

Then, think of how to prepare for these roadblocks, address them, or capitalize on the potential opportunities waiting for your focus. 

If you can anticipate opportunities and roadblocks successfully, you will be better prepared to  navigate the future landscape than your competitors.

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.

John Maxwell

5. Lead by example 

A leader sets a precedent for what’s acceptable or not within the organization—and no rules or policies are more potent than this. To be a better leader, be aware of how impactful your behavior is, and behave how you want others to. 

For example, a good leader will make decisions the way they want other executives in the company to emulate. 

Staff engagement, satisfaction, and morale are directly linked to the experience employees have with their line managers. Good leaders make people feel safe, included, and satisfied with their work. 

A leader leads by example, not by force.

Sun Tzu

6. Build a cohesive team 

A good leader builds cohesive teams. 

You should know how to deal with conflict, when to allow the team to weather the storm, and when to help them find their path. Building a cohesive team requires knowing each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, developing trust, and encouraging collaboration

A cohesive team works together, and the role of leadership is to facilitate building this team. 

A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.

Goethe

7. Never lose sight of innovation and creativity

Innovation, new ideas, and new ways of thinking to keep your customers excited are essential to good leadership. 

As a leader, the best way to build a culture of innovation and creativity is to encourage open communication and sharing of ideas. Emphasize customer focus, support your team to find creative ways of problem-solving and reward out-of-the-box approaches. 

Many leaders use training and leadership development budgets to foster such an environment in their workplace. 

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

Steve Jobs

8. Be willing to change and make tough decisions 

Early in 2010, Dominos realized they were failing to live up to people’s expectations. Sales had dropped, the share price had tanked, and the chain had stood last in consumer “taste rankings.” 

What did they do to solve this problem?  The pizza chain decided to tackle the issue head-on. Dominos ran innovative marketing campaigns over the next few years, added new locations, live-streamed customer reviews, and scaled up their online ordering capabilities. 

What’s more, they even changed their pizza recipe! 

Between 2010 and 2022, the share price went from $11 to $260. 

Dominos is an excellent example of leaders taking tough decisions and embracing change to help a company make a turnaround.

You can do the same as a leader. Know your goals, create detailed strategies, and develop systems and processes your staff can follow. When you see a need for change or for tough decisions, lean into it. 

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

Winston Churchill

9. Continuous learning 

Many leaders would agree that leadership is a journey with new challenges and learning waiting for you. Great leaders never stop learning—through practical application, networking, professional development and continuous education. 

Along your journey of growing as a leader, share your knowledge and experience with others. Take up the role of a coach and mentor, commit to developing your team’s leadership skills, and you’ll find satisfaction in laying the foundation for a strong leadership pipeline. 

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

John F. Kennedy

10. Empower your team

As a leader, one of your primary duties is to guide your team to achieve their full potential. To do this, you must delegate responsibility and give them the support they need to be successful. 

Give them clear objectives and complete ownership of outcomes; check in often to ensure they get help when needed, and encourage teamwork. To do this well, you should also know their strengths and weaknesses, and be prepared to trust them completely. 

It’s about growing your people, not you. You grow from the reflected glory of your people.

Jack Welch

Common Leadership Mistakes to Avoid

In truth, leadership is rewarding and stressful at the same time. You must manage different personalities, align them to your organization’s vision, make difficult choices, and confront issues before they become significant problems. 

Here are some common mistakes you should avoid. 

1. Not delegating 

The most dangerous thought you should avoid is—If you want something done right, do it yourself. 

A good leader will trust their team to complete their task to the highest standard, and the team expects you to guide them. Every employee should understand that you trust them, and be motivated to live up to your expectations, and continuously learn and improve. 

Research shows that delegating tasks boosts your ability to seek employee feedback, which in turn helps you grow as a leader. 

However, this does not mean a loss of accountability. Hold your team accountable for all they own. But when employees cannot keep up, communicate it individually rather than in a team meeting. Before deciding to part ways, consider providing additional training. 

2. Avoiding conflict 

While conflict can be detrimental to the team, avoiding confrontation worsens matters. 

Instead of avoiding all conflict, confront issues when you see them sprouting up. If allowed to grow, they could distract you later and irreversibly damage your team. 

The best way to resolve conflict is to externalize it by addressing it directly and making the parties work towards a compromise. 

3. Second-guessing yourself 

Sure, a healthy dose of self-doubt makes you more cautious. But remember to trust your judgment because if you don’t, who else would? 

While listening to others’ opinions is essential, at the same time, believe in yourself when making decisions. At the same time, stay self-aware so you don’t become arrogant or blind to constructive criticism.

Leading Effectively with ClickUp 

As a leader, you’re probably juggling multiple activities across different divisions. How do you keep track of your team’s progress? Wasting time over spreadsheets to maintain these details is inefficient. 

Instead, use project management tools like ClickUp to help you better track the team’s activities and successes and failures. 

ClickUp Project management features
Rely on ClickUp’s project management features to ensure complete visibility into software projects while discouraging risk-taking and nurturing trust in the team

ClickUp Goals allow you to break down tasks based on urgency, priority levels, and impact. Create trackable goals and break them down into manageable tasks on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. 

Visualizing progress in ClickUp’s Goals folder
Visualizing progress in ClickUp’s Goals folder

ClickUp lets you assign tasks to a team member and add comments and deadlines. 

A pro tip – build in buffer time if challenges arise. 

ClickUp’s Task Priorities feature is simple and easy to use and helps you set clear priorities for your team. With four different colored flags (Urgent, High, Normal, and Low priority), you and your team have a bird’s eye view of critical tasks. How’s that for keeping everyone on the same page?

Color coded task urgency statuses in ClickUp
Set color coded task priorities in ClickUp to let your team know what needs to be tackled ASAP

ClickUp also saves you and your team crucial time with automated workflows and templates so you can work smarter. What’s more, it integrates with over 1000 commonly used tools, from Slack to Zoom and Salesforce to Google Drive.   

We see new-age leaders using project management software and team-building apps to foster genuine relationships with their on-site and virtual teams, facilitate seamless communication, and instill a shared sense of purpose in each team member.

Leadership Strategies Keep Changing; the Best Leaders Stay Flexible 

To be a better leader, review your strategies often and measure the progress to see if you’re getting the results you set out to achieve. 

At the same time, use project tracking software like ClickUp to track, manage, and prioritize your organizational and team-level performance. Charts, reminders, calendars, and task automation ensure that you are on top of everything at all times. 

Be the leader you were always meant to be. Empower your team and manage your own projects efficiently with ClickUp. 

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