When I left my first job as a travel agent, the CEO of the company jumped on a plane to meet me and ask me to stay. When I kindly declined, he wished me the best and offered to help me find my next role.
When I left my first marketing role, my manager gave me a glowing reference, let me borrow the company laptop for a few weeks, and promised me we’ll stay friends (we did, he came to my weeding a few years later).
When I left Microsoft my manager opened up their network, actively sent me roles to review, and eventually told my next employer they better hire me fast otherwise he’ll outbid them.
Great leaders uplift others and help their employees grow. You can do the same for your team and become the kind of leader you had wished you had.
4 simple tools to elevate your team members
1. Keep them in the loop
One of the best things you can do for your team is to give them the gift of transparency. It is so hard to be a small cog in a big machine, not knowing what the bigger picture looks like.
Sharing updates from the top and giving your team members visibility beyond their scope will not only motivate them and reinforce their conviction in the company’s mission, but it will also allow them to make better decisions.
You’ll be giving them an opportunity to think about the bigger picture and sharpen their strategic thinking capabilities. You can steal my team meeting template to deliver these updates.
2. Give feedback + praise
So many leaders shy away from feedback because it is uncomfortable, but not sharing feedback means you are robbing your team of an opportunity to learn and grow.
Think about it: how did you learn to do what you do today? Someone had to give you feedback and guidance so you can improve. That’s how you leveled up and became a manager. Your team deserves to have the same opportunity.
Don’t wait for a performance review. In order to be effective, feedback should be shared as soon as possible. Make it a priority to bring it up the next time you meet with this team member 1:1.
The flip side of giving constructive feedback is sharing praise. Many leaders mess this up in two ways:
1) They give too much praise (participation trophy anyone?) and it loses its value. 2) They give no praise, and their teams feel demotivated
So how do you balance too much with too little?
You make it a point to recognize people when they exceed expectations, go above and beyond and deliver exceptional results. You praise the efforts and the results. And to make sure you share praise across the board, add a calendar invite once a month and use this time to reflect and find opportunities to share praise. Don't underestimate the power of praise. Your words can make a big difference.
3. Create opportunities for visibility
You may feel like you are doing a great job advocating for your team, but if they can’t see it, they can’t feel it. Gaining visibility with higher ups is incredibly motivating and is known to increase morale and boost confidence. Actively look for opportunities to give your team members the exposure they need.
Invite them to speak at an all hands (instead of presenting yourself)
Ask them to present their project summary in front of the executive team
Empower them to lead a cross functional meetings as SMEs
Yes, you can praise them in private, but letting them shine in public is a much better way to achieve the same result. My manager pushed me to take his spot and do my first TV interview
4. Help them grow
I was lucky to have great leaders who guided me, but unfortunately most managers have no idea how to support their team’s development. They barely know how to grow their own careers. A few things you can do without becoming a career coach overnight or implementing complex processes:
1) Ask your team members about their goals. Understand what they care about and what are their professional aspirations. It will help you guide them and create opportunities in the long term. 2) Provide resources. You may not be able to train them, but you can sponsor programs that will help them grow. For example, you can enroll your team members in The Promotion Accelerator to help them create a promotion plan for themselves. They will learn how to exceed expectations and communicate clearly about their career goals. No hard work for you, and massive gains for them. It’s a win-win. 3) Be an advocate and go to bat for them. Recognize their hard work and open up opportunities for growth. Help them level up, create a new role that aligns with their strength, fight for a raise or bonus when they deserve it.
Be the leader you've always needed
Great leaders elevate others. They are force multipliers. They know how to get the best out of their people, and help them grow. You can do that for your team. You can be the leader you’ve always wanted, but never got to have. All you need to do is to remember that you are only as good as your team, so when you elevate them, you elevate yourself.