What Makes a Great Leader? The Art of Letting Others Shine

By: The Humphrey Group

In the rapidly evolving world of work, the role of a leader has never been more critical. The calibre of an individual's leadership significantly influences employee morale, performance outcomes and turnover rates, among other critical areas.

Today, employees seek more than just supervisors to keep track of their coming and going. They crave leaders who can champion their growth, support their aspirations, and advocate for their success as leaders in their own right. At The Humphrey Group, we work with leaders to help them intentionally cultivate this kind of followership. We believe that it is something that is done through inspirational and intentional communication. 

Let's explore the essence of empowering leadership and its transformative potential for teams and organizations, along with practical steps we teach our clients to start leading in this way:


Embrace the Role: how to be an empowering leader

The journey towards empowering leadership begins with intention. Empowering leaders recognize the importance of supporting and advocating for their team members and they know they have to do this through communication. So what are the qualities that a leader needs to embody in order to do this? 

It’s time to redefine notions of traditional leadership. That means recognizing that modern employees no longer view those who personally acclaim to be leaders, those who seek personal acclaim, to be leaders. Instead, they are looking to be empowered by those who are characterized by their commitment to their team's success.

At the heart of this lies an innate sense of confidence and security, and an understanding that their success is tied to the overall success of their team. Leaders are unafraid of others "outshining" them because they prioritize overall team achievements over personal recognition.

As we teach here at The Humphrey Group, this comes back to authentic leadership. Leaders exude authenticity and positivity, which helps to foster a culture of trust, collaboration and growth. Their very presence inspires confidence and resilience in their team members.


Action Matters: signal your intent

But there’s more to leadership than authenticity – it also requires action. Once you’ve embraced the opportunity you have to signal through your communication that you want to do this, that means communicating your intention to championing team members' growth and success.

A great place to start is to engage with team members proactively by scheduling regular one-on-one meetings to gain insight into each individual’s goals and challenges. Sessions like these create space for open dialogue that allows leaders to build trust, while coming to understand what their team members really need from them.

Additionally, by taking time to understand the unique aspirations of their team members, they can show up for their team in meaningful ways and establish a culture where every member feels valued, supported, and empowered to thrive in ways that are meaningful to them.


Celebrate Success: acknowledge and amplify achievement

Celebrating success is more than just a formality; it's an essential leadership practice. When leaders take the time to understand what truly matters to their team members, they can celebrate successes in ways that are meaningful and impactful.

Empowering leaders don't shy away from giving credit where it's due. Whether it's a personal milestone, a team achievement, or a significant project success, these leaders ensure that every win is celebrated and shared with the team.

To be even more effective, ensure your feedback doesn’t just acknowledge a general “job well done.” Get specific with constructive feedback that illuminates the strengths and contributions of team members. Go beyond the generic and say, “Your presentation outlined the issues effectively and now it really feels like the team is unified behind this strategic direction.”

By highlighting the successes of their team members, leaders foster a culture of appreciation and recognition. This not only boosts morale but also inspires others to strive for excellence. Furthermore, celebrating success reinforces the idea that every contribution matters and that individual achievements contribute to collective success.


Empowering Leaders: cultivating success together

It's evident that the role of a leader, today, extends far beyond traditional notions of authority and hierarchy. By embracing the principles of empowering leadership, leaders have the opportunity to transform their teams and organizations.

By embracing their role, communicating intentions, celebrating successes, and cultivating authenticity, leaders can create a culture of empowerment, growth, and resilience.

As leaders uplift their teams, they also elevate themselves and contribute to the overall success and sustainability of their organizations. Let us strive to embody the principles of empowering leadership and empower others to shine brightly in their own right.