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These 8 tools should be in every business leader’s toolbox

By Kelly Duval and Louise von Matern on Nov 17, 2021 11:13:59 AM , updated on Nov 17, 2021

There’s no doubt that the workplace has transformed entirely since COVID-19. As the number of vaccinated people grows, many organizations are heading back to the office, trying to reestablish “business as usual.” However, many other organizations understand there is no going back to “normal” post-COVID.

The advantages of remote work are clear, and leaders now find themselves working in increasingly digital environments. With day-to-day functions being fully remote or hybrid, many leaders are now faced with the challenge of adapting. 

To evolve, you need to leverage the right tools—some physical and others mental. In doing so, you can become a participative leader by encouraging greater co-creation between team members.

Below, we’ll get into eight tools you should be using as a leader in today’s work environment:

  1. Dynamic workplace communication tools
  2. Leadership assessment tools
  3. A strategic mindset
  4. Confident (and competent) decision making) 
  5. Organizational tools
  6. Mentorship programs
  7. Facilitation skills
  8. Interpersonal skills 

1. Dynamic workplace communication tools

The better you communicate, the better you’ll lead. 

Communication-based inefficiencies cost organizations an average of $62.4 million per year, according to David Grossman’s report, “The cost of poor communications” which included 400 large companies and 100,00 employees. Per worker, that amounts to $26,041, on average. 

If people aren’t communicating correctly, they aren’t participating or co-creating. 

Having internal communication tools that reduce inefficiencies and encourage productive conversations is crucial to your leadership. Of course, there’s email and instant messaging tools like Slack and Teams for quickly exchanging short messages between colleagues. These tools help ensure everyone remains in the loop, whether they’re at the office or at home. Zoom and other video conferencing tools help emulate the face-to-face conversations often needed to properly convey information.

While these tools have their uses, they’re ultimately just streams of information without structure. The more communication tools we use, the easier it is to lose focus due to neverending alerts and notifications. 

In addition to such tools, organizations would benefit from a digital collaboration platform that supports a hybrid work environment. For example, Howspace gives everyone a shared context and acts as a noiseless space, enabling you to facilitate dialogue and co-create change. Howspace has chat features along with a video conferencing integration, offering the best of both worlds. Even better, you can communicate with a limitless number of participants at one time. 

 

Howspace can be used by a limitless number of people at one time

2. Leadership assessment tools

The purpose of leadership assessment tools is to identify someone’s capabilities as a leader in different areas. They also help describe someone’s best traits and how they fit into specific roles within an organization.

Such tools tell you how you’re performing as a leader. With that information, you can emphasize your strengths and course-correct your weaknesses.

Leadership can be assessed in a range of ways. One way is through an employee survey, where teams provide feedback on how you’re performing. The information gathered from these surveys would give you a helpful perspective on how people view you. It also promotes a participatory work environment, as you’re making employees an active part of your leadership process by giving them a say.

Another example of a leadership assessment tool is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. With 16 unique personality types, these tests provide well-rounded insights into a leader’s capabilities and character traits. 

3. A strategic mindset

Here’s the first tool that’s more of a skill than a product or device that can help you.

A strategic mindset helps ensure you’re always thinking one step ahead—a trait that’s essential to all leaders. When you’re a manager or an executive, your job is often to be predictive, anticipatory, and prepared for all potential outcomes. This way, you’re being proactive, not reactive in your response to all manner of scenarios, such as:

  • Movements within your team
  • Increasing concerns
  • Advancement opportunities
  • A new competitor has entered the market

A strategic leader is an agile leader. To thrive in today’s environment, many organizations are prioritizing agile transformation, which requires that leaders develop new mind-sets and capabilities. Agile leadership is basically about being flexible and being able to navigate complex environments. As an agile leader, you can zoom out to understand the big picture, and zoom in to understand what it means for you and your business.  

Howspace supports agile leadership with its data collection and reporting capabilities. With the platform’s AI capabilities, it’s easy to quickly make sense of huge quantities of unstructured data so you can apply learnings to your long-term strategy. 

4. Confident (and competent) decision making

You could be a strategic thinker with plenty of practical knowledge yet feel paralyzed by indecision. With that said, being firm with your decisions can quickly turn into a negative if they’re unwise and not in your team’s best interests. 

You can use different apps to strengthen your ability to make reliable and valuable decisions that positively impact the business and your team. For instance, Lumosity and Fit Brains Trainer help keep your brain sharp by working your “thinking muscles.”

Your mental and physical health are also integral to the soundness of your decisions. By making healthy work-life fit decisions, you provide an example for your team to do the same.  

Most importantly, be sure to involve your whole team and tap into the wisdom of the crowd when making decisions. This way, it’s a lot easier for people to get behind the choices made. 

5. Organizational tools for leaders

When you’re leading a team (or multiple teams), your ability to organize becomes your most coveted skill set. A project management tool like Monday, Asana, or Trello provides visuals of what projects are new, in progress, in review, or complete. You’ll also know who’s working on what and when projects are supposed to be finished.

The market is flooded with organizational tools. You just need to figure out which one works best for your leadership style and for the projects you’re running. 

6. Mentorship programs 

Mentoring your team members can be a valuable tool for improving your leadership skills. By becoming a mentor, you can accelerate your own learning, and improve your listening and problem-solving skills, for example. 

Mentorship programs also show your team members that there are growth opportunities within your company and that you want to give back. You can provide that sense of continual development with a mentorship program that enables your people to become leaders themselves. 

By organizing these sessions in Howspace, you’ll be sure to drive collaboration and participation and provide people a safe space to share their input. You can also share resources and videos, have live calls, build custom activities to gauge progress, and create a learning journey for employees. 

7. Facilitation skills

One of the most important skill sets for leaders today is strong facilitation skills. A facilitator’s mindset involves being curious and appreciative of everyone’s inputs. A facilitator knows they don’t have all the answers, and instead guides their team to achieve their common objective together. 

Leaders have to ensure their facilitation skills are updated for our digital era, which requires developing digital facilitation skills. The benefits of digital facilitation for leaders include:

  • Make everyone feel heard
  • Create a safe space for different personalities 
  • Avoid unnecessary distractions and interruptions
  • Foster a culture of co-creation
  • Spend less time on busywork and more time on what matters
  • Share the responsibility of documentation
  • Ask for feedback and iterate 

8. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills might be the most essential tool for any leader.

These are your abilities to be sociable and cultivate lasting, impactful relationships with your team members. When you excel in this department, you tend to experience the following benefits:

  • Employees are more motivated
  • It’s easier to navigate setbacks
  • You’re better equipped to get to the root cause of lacking performance

But don’t just take our word for it. Studies from Harvard Business School and other organizations show that leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence form more motivated and connected teams. 

When you’re emotionally savvy, it’s also easier to foster co-creation and participation amongst your people. 

Want the key to being a great leader? Keep sharpening your tool kit

Having all these tools at your disposal will help you develop as a participatory leader that encourages co-creation. 

Still, nobody’s perfect. And just because you might be lacking in some areas doesn’t mean you can’t improve. Similarly, some of your strengths as a leader might diminish over time if you aren’t mindful of them.

As long as you remain conscious of these necessary leadership tools and look for ways to sharpen them, you’re on the right path. And platforms like Howspace that support today’s hybrid workplaces will continually help you improve by providing the co-creating environment all leaders should strive for. 

Ready to improve collaboration with your hybrid team? Get access to Howspace free for 30 days and start testing it out today with a free trial—no credit card required. 

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