IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Four Lessons to Becoming a Respected Leadership STAR!

Learn the keys to being a leader who inspires. By Lisa Shorr

“If you get the culture right, everything becomes easier. If you don’t get it right, all is hard.” - Jack Daly, author of Hyper Sales Growth

Microsoft Inspire is a remarkable trade show. Thousands of IT geeks like myself fly in from all over the globe to connect with colleagues and vendors and get “inspired” by Microsoft’s new innovations. Since taking the helm in 2014, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been driving two main initiatives: launching innovative cloud solutions like Office 365 and Azure and, just as importantly, radically turning the company’s “old” corporate culture of individual kingdoms into a more collaborative environment.

Corporate or departmental culture starts at the top. Nadella is making a concerted effort to encourage his department heads and managers to collaborate versus finding issues with each other’s ideas. While his efforts have certainly been met with trepidation, Microsoft is seeing change in their cultural mindset.

I once hired a manager who did just the opposite of Nadella. Instead of encouraging his team to collectively figure out a solution to an issue, he consistently exhibited signs of frustration toward his team’s perceived lack of knowledge and solved the problem himself. This mistrust and lack of respect for the team, fostered a culture wrought with low morale and helplessness. Not a healthy situation to promote corporate growth!

What leadership lessons can you apply to become a S.T.A.R.?

S - Show Interest: Whether you’re in a team meeting or an employee review, show up on time, make eye contact, and ask questions. Most of all, listen. Intently and empathetically listen to the needs of your team. Don’t interrupt the conversation by answering your phone, reading an email, or blurting out your opinion before you’ve heard the entire question or scenario.

T - Train Your Team: Set your team up for collaborative success by offering team training. This professional development tactic goes a long way to demonstrating your desire to see your employee grow and be a reliable resource on your team. Be sure to cross-train as well to develop much-needed backup when dealing with complex issues. 

A – Acknowledge the successes of your team: Did an employee receive a great testimonial from a client or help another team member without being asked? Did your department or company hit a particular goal? Share your excitement with the team. Say “THANK YOU” often. Find out what makes your employee’s tick. Money is not always a motivator.

R – Respect Yourself: Most importantly, respect yourself. All of your actions and reactions are watched and set the tone for a positive or negative environment. Take time to take care of you. Yes, I know you’re in IT and forever dealing with client emergencies. Culture starts at the top, though. A rested and calm leader is so much more impactful than one burning the candle at both ends and constantly racing to put out fires. Exercise, take a vacation, be mindful of what you eat, meditate. Whatever you choose to do first, just start somewhere. Your employees, clients and family will be thankful you did!

Like celebrity, leadership S.T.A.R. status is earned over time. Your choices determine whether you shine bright or fizzle out.

LISA SHORR is a certified advanced image consultant and owner of Shorr Success and Secure Future Tech Solutions. With more than two decades of experience in the sales and marketing arena, she conducts workshops and coaches MSPs on professional development and corporate branding. More of her Brand Bytes posts are available here.

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