3 Unconventional Leadership Techniques to Try This Week

April 7, 2014 at 6:00 AM by Kathleen de Lara

leadership tipsWhile there may not be a universal formula for building a powerful, effective team, being a powerful, effective leader can help you develop the right strategy that’s right for the company. Build a potent recipe for success by creating a foundation geared to support the industry’s ever-changing challenges and demands.

Looking for a place to start? Try testing out these tactics to boost the way you guide the team.

Connect with the candidate as a customer.

Try asking your candidate, “How would you improve our product?” Look to their feedback first as a customer, then as a potential employee who should have a substantial understanding of the product. This process works as a two-for-one: Learn about their personal user experience and get insight to how much research they did on the company.

How much time did the candidate put into finding out more about what you do? Did they skim through your ‘About’ page, or did they create an account to try out what your team built? Measure how engaged the candidate is with joining your team, and if you don’t end up making the hire, you’ll have valuable customer feedback to help build and enhance the product.

Look for “unfiltered leaders.”

Harvard Business School professor Gautam Mukunda suggests that it’s experience and knowledge that keep leaders from impacting effective change. “Unfiltered leaders are high risk, high reward,” he said. Filtered leaders, on the other hand, tend to approach situations more traditionally, which isn't always completely helpful. The challenge or issue at hand gets solved, but how does that set the candidate apart from the other five individuals who probably would’ve done the same? A good decision isn’t necessarily indicative of influential leadership. Unfiltered leadership stirs up change, motivates employees to think differently, and can successfully adapt to and address drastic changes. “You can be a great manager, but you won’t have impact if there are 100 other great managers who would do the same thing you would.”


Allow your new hire adequate authority and autonomy to meet goals and make decisions.

An employee’s journey to success can be hindered by a negative dynamic with a manager. According to the Set-Up-To-Fail Syndrome, researched by Jean-Francois Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux of the INSEAD France business school, managers sometimes unknowingly give the impression of belittlement and devaluation of an employee who slips up and fails to meet a manager’s expectations. When an employee is unsuccessful, managers often create barriers meant to provide guidance while emotionally disconnecting from their professional relationship with the employee.

Increased supervision, rejected ideas, and exclusion from management meetings are a few trigger events that often lead to an employee’s conviction there's a disbelief that he or she can succeed. Managers who suspect an employee is a weak performer and instill accordingly low expectations are likely to find that their employee will meet them, unfortunately. Trust that your new hire has the team’s goals in mind and give them sufficient bandwidth to do so.

While being a rock for the team can be a good thing, it’s also important to remember that rocks, while sturdy and endurable, are also sedentary and silent. Drive your team to continually improve and motivate change that adjusts to the industry trends in order to stay one step ahead of the competition.

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