There are three practices of wise leaders that are not instinctual to most leaders but which if practiced build incredibly strong and loyal teams.
First is the practice of holding staff with an open hand. When we hold on to staff and make it difficult for them to move on or to explore other opportunities we breed resentment. On the other hand if we always tell them that we want the absolute best for them whether with our team or on another you breed loyalty. Those who are willing to let go find that people actually stay longer!
Second is the practice of encouraging people to speak their minds even when it disagrees with your ideas. The ability of others to engage in robust dialogue where any issue can be put on the table with the exception of personal attacks or hidden agendas actually brings the best thoughts to the table. Leaders must get over their own insecurities to encourage robust dialogue but when they do they get the best from their people. Letting others speak their minds even when it contradicts our ideas is powerful, and counterintuitive.
Third is the practice of empowering staff to accomplish their jobs in their own way (not the way we would do it) within specified boundaries. Empowerment means letting go and unleashing others to use their creativity and gifts in their way. It is hard for leaders to let go but when they do they get the best out of their staff - if they have chosen staff wisely. Micromanagement breeds resentment while empowerment breeds great loyalty.
If you lead, examine your own practices and ask if there is a counterintuitive behavior that will actually help you lead better.
TJ Addington of Addington Consulting has a passion to help individuals and organizations maximize their impact and go to the next level of effectiveness. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.