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10 Leadership Strategies to Try Now

Learn how to tackle common leadership challenges with 10 leadership strategies you can implement in your team today.

Vicki Chen
Writer at Motion
May 24, 2024
Table of contents

American author John C. Maxwell famously said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

And it’s true — great leaders create a ripple effect. They build productive teams, foster innovation, and boost morale.

But, if we’re being honest, it’s not always easy to be a good leader. From navigating difficult conflicts to making tough decisions, there are constant challenges to overcome.

This article offers leadership strategies to help you become an inspiring leader who empowers your team to perform their best work.

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What is a leadership strategy?

A leadership strategy is a framework that defines your approach to leading — how you make decisions, motivate your people, and navigate challenges.

An effective leadership strategy is tailored to your team and organization. It considers your team's strengths and weaknesses, the company's goals, and even the broader business environment.

As your team grows, challenges arise, and the company's goals evolve, your strategy should, too. Strategic leaders are always learning, adapting, and refining their approach.

Why is having a leadership strategy important?

Aspiring to be a leader who inspires and empowers? A transformational leadership strategy helps you create the kind of workplace where your employees can thrive.

Provides direction and focus

A leadership strategy outlines the path toward your team's goals and the company’s mission. It aligns everyone’s efforts toward your shared objectives. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or directionless, everyone knows their role and understands how their work contributes to the bigger picture. This prevents wasted time and energy on tasks that don't truly move the needle.

Having a clear direction builds momentum, fosters a sense of shared purpose, and empowers your team to take decisive action.

Builds a stronger team

A team always reflects its leader’s beliefs and attitudes. Your strategy creates a common language shared between team members. This shared understanding not only clarifies expectations and goals but also creates a sense of unity and purpose.

Effective teamwork and collaboration

‎Your strategy directly shapes your team dynamics, performance, and overall culture by guiding your actions. And if it’s well-defined, it promotes collaboration and trust and minimizes internal conflicts.

In fact, employees who work under good leaders are 2.5 times more likely to be engaged, put in more effort, advocate for the company, and stay for the long term.

Enhances decision-making

Leaders face tough decisions daily. A strategic leadership strategy creates a framework for evaluating choices — with every decision supporting the broader goals and values of the team and company as a whole.

Having a plan helps you avoid making hasty decisions. It encourages you to think about your options carefully before you choose one.

Promotes consistency

Consistent leadership is the key to building trust with your team. A good leadership strategy provides a stable foundation for your actions, helping you be more consistent. This fosters a sense of security among your team members, who know what to expect and can trust in your guidance.

This increased trust has a direct impact on employee well-being and performance. A recent survey shows that employees who work under good bosses have more positive work environments and better health outcomes. They are also less likely to experience burnout.

5 leadership challenges to avoid

If only being a great leader was as easy as reading a few motivational quotes. The truth, however, is that many pitfalls and bad habits can undermine your effectiveness as a leader.

Here are some common leadership challenges to avoid:

1. Micromanagement

Most of us are all too familiar with micromanagement, but it can be deceptively hard to stop.

The urge to control often stems from a good place — a desire for excellence or to avoid failure. However, it’s important to overcome this urge since 93% of employees who say their manager trusts them feel energized and enjoy their work.

Micromanagement stifles your employees' autonomy and creativity, hindering their growth and problem-solving abilities. This can create a culture of dependency and resentment where the team waits for the leader's input before taking any action. Additionally, it wastes your time, preventing you from focusing on your more important tasks.

Remember, your role is to empower your team to reach goals, not to control their every move.

2. Not delegating

It's a common misconception that doing everything yourself makes you a strong leader. In reality, not delegating can lead to burnout and missed opportunities for both you and your team.

While 81% of employees say it’s important their managers help them prioritize their workload, less than one-third have been given clear guidance on how to do so.

Leader employee delegation statistics

‎When you don't delegate, you create workflow bottlenecks that drain resources and stop you from focusing on high-level priorities.

Not only does a lack of delegation hinder your team’s professional development by denying them learning opportunities, but it also creates an unsustainable workload for you as their leader.

3. Ignoring feedback

Ignoring feedback is a surefire way to destroy trust within your team.

When employees think their input doesn't matter, this diminishes their confidence in your leadership and can lead them to disengage. After all, why bother speaking up if your ideas and concerns are constantly dismissed?

You also miss out on valuable opportunities for growth and improvement. Constructive criticism, while sometimes difficult to hear, can identify blind spots where your leadership could be more effective.

4. Avoiding conflicts

While it might seem like the easiest way to keep peace, avoiding conflicts eventually blows up in your face. What starts as a minor disagreement may quickly escalate into a full-blown crisis if left unaddressed.

A conflict-avoidant environment often breeds unhealthy communication patterns, such as passive-aggressiveness, gossip, or backchannel maneuvering to deal with issues. It also robs your team of the chance to develop their problem-solving skills.

5. Second-guessing yourself

While self-reflection is an important part of leadership, constantly second-guessing yourself can seriously undermine your effectiveness. It chips away at your confidence and makes your team question your judgment.

Indecision and delays often result from second-guessing. Projects are delayed, deadlines are missed, and team members are frustrated and confused, all of which translates into unnecessary stress for both you and your team.

Confidence can be infectious. If you believe in your decisions, your team is more likely to, as well.

10 leadership strategies to try today

Ready to get practical? Let's turn theory into strategic leadership strategies you can implement today.

1. Connect daily tasks to the big picture

The daily grind can feel meaningless without context. That's why it's important to connect the dots for your team.

Take time to explain how even the most routine tasks fit into the team's common goals and the company's mission. This simple act of communication gives your work purpose and fuels motivation because it reminds everyone that they play an important role in something bigger.

Whenever the company reaches a significant milestone, highlight the specific ways each team contributed to that success. This fosters collective ownership and pride and strengthens the connections between individual efforts and organizational outcomes.

2. Intentionally take a backseat

Strategic leaders know when to step back and let their team shine. Your goal is to create a culture of shared leadership. Delegating specific projects and decisions helps you build trust and create growth opportunities among your team.

Instead of leading every meeting, try observing. Let your team facilitate discussions and arrive at their own solutions. Similarly, when faced with a challenge, resist the urge to immediately provide answers. Ask questions to guide your team's problem-solving.

But this doesn’t mean disappearing entirely. It’s still important to stay in the loop so that you’re ready to offer support when needed.

With Motion, you can get a high-level view of your team's progress and identify potential roadblocks without having to micromanage.

Track team progress

‎3. Motivate, don’t dictate

As a leader, you don’t just manage tasks — you deal with people. To motivate your team, focus on inspiration and empowerment rather than control and the status quo.

Set clear expectations for outcomes, but give your employees the autonomy to decide how they’ll achieve those goals. This means trusting them to make decisions, experiment with different approaches, and learn from their mistakes. As a result, they’ll be more likely to take initiative and find innovative solutions.

If you’re used to a more directive leadership style, start by changing the way you ask questions. Asking open-ended ones that invite discussion, like “How will you tackle this challenge?” is a great way to encourage autonomy and ownership.

4. Give your team space to experiment

Innovative companies aren't afraid to color outside the lines. Encourage calculated risk-taking, and frame failures as learning opportunities. Start from the top and be your team's role model. Leaders who genuinely acknowledge their failures or shortcomings are 7.5 times more likely to maintain trust over those who don’t.

These actions destigmatize failure and shift the focus toward continuous improvement, which not only promotes innovation and a growth mindset within the team but also creates a safe space for trying out new ideas and approaches.

If your budget allows, you can even allocate a "failure fund" — a small budget specifically meant for testing new ideas and prototyping solutions.

5. Implement a lessons-learned system

Building on the previous point, fostering a culture of experimentation naturally leads to both success and failure. Don’t let these experiences go to waste. Create a lesson-learned system to help prevent your team from repeating past mistakes.

A lessons-learned system can take various forms, such as a knowledge base for sharing best practices, a simple document at the end of projects, or a short team debrief. Ideally, you'll do all of the above.

Save all project documents, including your lessons-learned document, in one place with Motion. Access valuable notes for future projects to review mistakes and replicate successes.

Access project information in one place

‎6. Optimize meeting culture

Meetings are inevitable in the workplace, but are they always productive? Evaluate which meetings can be replaced with asynchronous updates, such as collaborative documents, or recorded videos. This shift reclaims valuable time for focused work and reduces meeting fatigue.

Before scheduling any meeting, ask yourself: is this truly necessary? Does it have a clear agenda and desired outcomes? If not, consider alternatives.

For essential meetings, pre-circulate agendas to ensure everyone comes prepared. Or experiment with stand-up meetings for quick updates.

Motion streamlines your meeting culture by helping you plan essential meetings at the ideal times for all participants. Maximize engagement and minimize disruptions to individual workflows.

Plan meetings at ideal times

‎7. Use "pre-mortems"

Before launching a project, gather your team for a "pre-mortem" session. This involves imagining the project has failed and working backward to identify potential causes. It might seem pessimistic, but it's a powerful tool to inspire proactive problem-solving.

By anticipating what could go wrong, you can brainstorm solutions before problems arise. This practice can greatly improve project outcomes and minimize costly mistakes.

Pre-mortems also encourage critical thinking and foster a collaborative approach to problem-solving since team members share their insights and concerns openly.

8. Protect focused work time

The workplace is filled with constant notifications, chatty coworkers, and last-minute requests. To avoid getting distracted, block off dedicated deep work periods for yourself and your team.

Carving out dedicated time to focus on complex tasks enhances concentration and enables you and your team to achieve a flow state where productivity soars.

Earlier, we discussed the dangers of unnecessary meetings that drain your productivity. Motion safeguards focused work time by allowing you to limit the number of meetings you have per day. Preserve specific time slots and protect your energy for deep work.

Limit meetings per day

‎9. Prioritize developmental 1-on-1s

There's often a disconnect between how leaders perceive their team's needs and reality. A recent study found that 79% of leaders think they have a good sense of what their employees want, but only 48% of those employees agree.

This gap highlights the importance of having 1-on-1 professional development meetings. These conversations allow you to truly connect with your team members, understand their aspirations, and tailor support and opportunities to their needs.

During 1-on-1s, ask the team member about their long-term goals, areas they'd like to develop, and any challenges they are facing. Then, provide the resources they need to grow, such as additional training and mentorship opportunities.

10. Build a culture of recognition

Acknowledging team effort, both publicly and privately, helps you create a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated.

Recognition not only boosts morale but also reinforces desired behaviors. When employees feel seen and recognized for their contributions, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and committed to the team's success.

Recognition can take many forms, from a simple “thank you” to a more formal award or bonus. Find what works best for your team and make it a regular part of your leadership practice.

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Vicki Chen
Vicki Chen is a content writer and marketer using proven storytelling methods to create high-quality copy and content for SaaS companies. When she's not writing, she's spending time with Taco, her rescue dog.
Written by Vicki Chen