<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=321450106792005&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

How to be an effective leader and lead your team to success

Tahseen Kazi

14 September 2023

In this article:

Everybody can be a manager. 
Few can be a leader. 
Even fewer can be effective leaders. 

And this is not just me rambling my opinion. 

Amber data suggests that the second highest reason employees waved goodbye in 2022 was their manager. 

So, we chatted with two seasoned HR leaders - Rishi Tiwari (VP-HR at Max Life Insurance) and Shubhra Sharma (Head HR & Global Service Delivery, Bangalore at HSBC).

They spilled the beans on top-notch insights to amp up your leadership game. These nuggets are pure gold, sifted from their 40 years of combined experience. 

And here's the kicker: 6 out of 7 of these actions have nothing to do with a leader's previous accomplishments or technical competence. 

Sometimes it’s about going back to the basics.

Show (don't tell) them you have their back

Effective leadership starts with trust. 

And trust starts with being authentic. 

Think about it like choosing a pilot for a skydive. You want someone who’s got experience, a calm demeanor, and definitely won't toss you out of the plane without a parachute! That's the kind of trust we're talking about with great leaders

Here's the key: trust starts with being genuine. 

As Rishi points out;

You cannot script care in your value system. It has to come naturally and you have to be genuine. An effective leader has to be serving in nature. You can't rely on a few motivational activities anymore and expect that employees will buy it.

Your team needs to trust that you'll walk the talk. 

Just like Shubhra says, it's not about flashy speeches that fade away. It's about being real, open, and honest. And most importantly, being consistent with your words and actions. If you say it, you better be ready to do it. That's how you build trust that really sticks.

Move beyond weather-talk, communicate openly

Leaders are often painted as bullet-proof figures. 

But guess what? You’re human…and a part of being effective is showing that you are vulnerable. 

Shubra nails it when she says;

“Leaders need to understand that real connection comes from sharing the ups, and the downs – and turning both into learning opportunities for the team. That's where you start building your effectiveness as a leader.”

Open communication also really matters when you've got tough news to share with your team.

💟 “Don't just say, ‘Hey, this is the decision and I was not involved in it’. You have to take accountability for communicating the decision. You have to explain to your people what is going to happen. And if possible sit with your team and involve them in that discussion.”

Shubhra-sharma-HSBC Shubhra Sharma, Head HR & Global Service Delivery (BLR) - HSBC

Don’t just say you understand, mean it

With employee stress at an all-time high (44% reported high-stress levels), being an effective leader requires understanding what EMPATHY means and integrating it into your daily work life.

🧡 "Empathy means putting yourself in another person's shoes, identifying the constraints under which that person was operating, and how those constraints can be mitigated to make the person more successful. "

rishi-tiwari-max-life Rishi Tiwari, VP-HR at Max Life Insurance

Thanks to COVID-19, workplace dynamics have shifted big time. 
A fresh wave of workers has stormed in.
And the lines between work and life are increasingly blurring. 

As a leader, you can't just sit back. It's all about grasping your team's motivations. 

In fact, even Gartner’s recent study suggests that human leadership is the next evolution of leadership.

As Shubhra accurately puts it;

👨‍💼 "It’s no longer about assigning work to 10 people in the team and getting it done. It's about understanding each individual. The need for today's leaders is to be empathetic. You really need to understand the diverse teams, the different opinions, and the position that people are coming from. "

Shubhra-sharma-HSBC Shubhra Sharma, Head HR & Global Service Delivery (BLR) -HSBC

Be a fearless leader

Leading effectively means tackling conflicts head-on. Our chat with Shubra highlighted two key moves for conflict-savvy leadership:

Keep your ego in check

No one's immune to defensiveness, but charging in guns blazing doesn't help. Shubra's tip? Hit pause. Step back. Assess. Then act. A controlled approach cooks up better solutions and can become a teaching moment for the team.

Embrace conflict, don't dodge it

Effective leaders don't shy from conflicts; they tackle them head-on. Dodging might seem nice, but it brews problems. Silos, politics, and trust issues can sneak in. Don't go there! Instead, take the bull by the horns!

🧡 Embrace Radical Candor

At inFeedo, we follow the winning formula of Radical Candor. Our Founder & CEO, Tanmaya Jain, swears by it. Challenging directly and caring personally – that's the heart of it. Give it a shot; it works!

Be flexible with your leadership style

Next up in the journey to being a stellar leader: nailing adaptability. 

The best leaders? They're cool with diverse ideas and ready to pivot. They create a safe playground for the team to learn and try new things. Most importantly: by rolling with change, they set the gold standard for a learning mindset.

Rishi spilled the beans on an effective framework for adaptability – the Hersey-Blanchard Situation Leadership Model. It's about leaders shaping their leadership style based on their team's needs and skills. This framework is pure gold for every leader serious about acing the adaptability agenda.

👏 "Depending on the maturity and/or skill set of a follower you might like to be a coach, a mentor, a consultant, or a sheer supporter in the background."

rishi-tiwari-max-life Rishi Tiwari, VP-HR at Max Life Insurance

Make yourself redundant   

Here's a big pitfall many leaders stumble into: they hire top talent and then micromanage them. Total buzzkill for their potential. 

Instead, flip the script: empower your crew. Pass them the decision-making torch and be their guide. Think of it as a comfy space to try, risk, and even trip – with a safety net. Now that's real empowerment in play!

Rishi is a huge believer in giving teams the power to make decisions. 

🎓  Leaders are typically scared to empower people to make certain decisions on their behalf. You must empower your people with decision-making abilities if you want them to develop into the next generation of leaders

Yes, time and again wrong decisions will be made. But as a leader, you should provide a safety net that lets people know that they have the opportunity to learn and grow in this organization.

rishi-tiwari-max-life Rishi Tiwari, VP-HR at Max Life Insurance

Show them how it's done

And lastly, no leader has ever become effective by lacking the technical skills needed for the job. 

In a speech by India's last Field Marshal, Sam Manekshaw, he emphasized technical superiority alongside softer leadership qualities. Effective leaders require both. Like Rishi rightly says - while communication, care, and authenticity matter, technical competence also commands respect and authority. Leadership spans all levels, necessitating technical prowess and the ability to inspire.

Subscribe for more articles like this!