5 Leadership Tips to Step Back and Let Your Team Shine

We all would love a motivated team with clear vision and a sense of responsibility. Sarah Hood, UVic’s director of Organization Development & Learning Services, shares 5 strategies to build your team.

What employer doesn’t want a motivated team with clear vision and a sense of responsibility? The best way to achieve that? Get out of your team’s way. That is the message Sarah Hood, UVic’s director of Organization Development & Learning Services, shared with the crowd at DisruptHR Victoria 2019. Hood says moving out of your team’s way is an important stage in their development life cycle and it offers plenty of rewards. But it does require upfront work to get there. Here are Hood’s suggestions to set your team up for success and watch them thrive.

Give your team a common purpose or vision. This means having a shared understanding of “what we do,” why it matters and how it connects to important things like client service, strategic goals and organizational success.

Build trust. Trust is needed between you and the team, but also within the team. As a leader, it’s your job to create the conditions for trust. That means holding space for difficult conversations, helping the team develop their communication skills and modeling both vulnerability and authentic communication.

Take on the bureaucracy. Set your team up for success by developing budgets, handling approvals and filling out all forms and paperwork to get the right resources in place for them. If you take care of the “unsexy” behind-the-scenes stuff, your team can do their thing knowing that they are supported.

Fade in and out as needed. Do the upfront work to set the foundation for success, then fade away. How exactly you do that might change depending on the team or the project. You may start to fade out and then realize the team needs you to step back in briefly for a specific purpose before fading out again. Getting out of the way also means sticking close enough that you’re there if they need you.

Listen, coach, celebrate and cheer. If you reframe your leadership in this way, then you can put your own ego aside and truly be of service to the team. Hanging out on the edges means you’re accessible for coaching when needed. You also have enough information about what is going on that you can showcase and highlight your team’s work elsewhere in the organization and hold them up as an example of success.

This article is from the February/March 2020 issue of Douglas.