Business leaders from all walks of life would likely agree on just how dynamic today’s leadership arena is. To survive in the extremely competitive scene (and maybe even keep your company afloat), you have to keep up with modern demands in D&I, L&D, employee engagement, resilience, succession planning, and data science, among countless other things.

As you might expect, this has sparked a rising demand for high-impact leaders that can effectively meet all these needs. According to a study by Deloitte, this desired level of leadership is currently quite hard to come by. The data shows that 44% of leaders develop talent for competitive gains, while 48% are committed to change and innovation. Only 60% of the leaders surveyed showed good business judgment and commercial acumen. 

Overall, despite lengthy efforts by learning professionals, the efforts by organizations to grow leaders remain unsatisfactory. In this article, we look at exactly what defines a high-impact leader and some strategies you can implement to be or develop one.

Continuously Invest In Yourself And Your Team

The hunger for growth and development is what separates a high-impact leader from other types of leaders. These individuals are on a never-ending quest to develop themselves and those around them.  

A huge part of this involves actively scouting and identifying potential leaders within your team. To help them grow further, you may consider placing them in an accelerated leadership development program to attend relevant training seminars on leadership. Remind your potential leaders that a commitment to lifelong learning is part of being a high-impact leader. 

Introduce An Internal Leadership Program

A high-impact leader knows that the best way to learn leadership is by teaching leadership. And the most impactful way to do this is by establishing a leadership development program within your organization. Such programs are usually aimed to prepare the next generation of leaders on how they can better respond better to disruptive challenges. 

A good leadership development program should be indiscriminate and open to the entire team from the bottom to the top. As a leader, it is important to be personally involved in the training. This way, you can spot and fish out exceptional learners. Alternatively, you can bring in external leadership professionals who are better skilled to teach such techniques to groups of people. 

Bring Out Your Team’s Strengths

As we saw, a high-impact leader is keen on identifying the strengths that each member within the group has. Best practice is to position individuals where their strength will make the most impact. 

People tend to have more endurance and enthusiasm doing something they are good at. They experience a deep passion for their work which, in turn, reflects on the entire organization. Additionally, since they don’t have to struggle much to excel, they are sure to deliver great results.

Trust Your Team With More Responsibilities

After your team has gone through the leadership program, you should observe their strengths and potential. Based on that, you can assign more responsibilities beyond their current comfort level as a challenge for them to grow. 

After all, part of what makes a great leader is being able to take on challenges as they come. You’ll be constantly faced with issues that demand a rapid and appropriate response. Being presented with more responsibilities can help foster this skill and make it more natural to you.

Make Time For Your Team: Be Person-Centered

High impact leaders invest time to communicate with the teams they are leading. This way, they get a fresh insight into improving the organization or new ways of conducting business. 

A good way to manage this would be to apply the 80/20 rule. The rule states that a high-impact leader will spend 80% of their time with the top 20% of their group’s leaders.

By focusing your time on team members critical to the organization, you’ll get feedback that directly impacts your organization. Feel free to schedule meetings, lunches and retreats focused on increasing performance.

Demand For Transparency On Results, Progress, Aims, And Defects

Transparency is vital to a high-impact leader. By knowing what is going on within your organization, you can devise strategies that can better it. Encourage your team to share their thoughts on how the organization can be better run and areas that need to be improved. In turn, be open and honest with them when it comes to organizational news. 

This kind of two-way communication invokes trust and accountability for all people. It promotes learning and critical thinking.

Transparency will also help:

  • Provide your team and customers an opportunity to participate in improving your organization and motivate change.
  • Raise the capability improvement by getting access to real-time data.
  • Track the progress on results and observe any corrections that need to be made.    
  • Shape the work culture into one of trust with a focus on eliminating weakness     

Focus On Strategies That Can Best Achieve Your Organization's Goals

A high-impact leader is responsible for directing focus on high-priority issues within the organization. Establish a vision for your team and translate the vision into a workable plan. The trick here is always to leverage the most promising strategies and resources.

You can do this by:

  • Reviewing the results of the most critical parts of the plan and eliminating any barriers affecting progress.
  • Communicating to your team about the company’s vision on a regular. This way, everyone has a clear understanding of any objectives.
  • Appoint the most effective team members to high-priority tasks and be on the lookout for high-potential team members.
  • Designate resources according to the company’s vision. Do not divert resources to projects that are not aligned with the organization’s strategic plan.  

Wrapping Up

As we saw earlier, there is a growing demand for high-impact leaders. They are like gems, honing invaluable prowess and skill. And usually, such qualities are rewarded handsomely. Hopefully, by implementing a few of the traits above, you’ll be a step closer to reaching that level.

At Sounding Board Inc, our primary goal is to provide insight and leadership coaching for a greater business impact. For more information on impactful leadership and how you can drive your organization’s performance, feel free to contact us

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Tommy is at his best helping clients think through complex challenges in order to create a positive impact on their organizations. He thrives when interacting with others whether helping his team succeed or working with clients to build long-term partnerships. He has extensive experience consulting with organizations on driving their employee experience, guiding organizations through change, and working to ensure organizations are moving the needle when it comes to their results.

Most recently, Tommy was a Client Services Leader overseeing some of GP’s most prized accounts on a global level. His responsibilities included overall client growth strategy, retention, and satisfaction. He represented all of GP Strategies’ major business lines including leadership, coaching, and engagement, digital transformation, outsourced services, and technology implementation solutions.

Before GP Strategies, Tommy spent several years with TTEC Digital (formerly rogenSI) where he led the sales team,  eventually becoming the regional Learning & Performance practice leader for North America. While managing the P&L and sales team he also led the largest global relationship for the firm (Deloitte Globally). During his time at TTEC, he focused on delivering blended learning solutions that incorporate technology and hands-on training. Before TTEC Digital, he spent several years dedicated to strength-based leadership disrupting the business landscape regarding performance management and employee engagement with thought leader Marcus Buckingham at The Marcus Buckingham Company / TMBC (now ADP).

Tommy has had the privilege of working with some of the most well-known global brands in professional services, retail, technology, and healthcare including Deloitte, Facebook, Microsoft, Bank of America, Novartis, Gap Inc., lululemon, and Intel. Several projects he led for Deloitte were Global GNPS, New Partner Pivot, NextGen Partner Program Deloitte China, Present to Win, the RPM project on performance management, and Unconscious Bias.

Tommy holds a BS in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Universidad del CEMA.

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Co-Founder & CCO Sounding Board, Inc.
Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

Christine Tao

Co-Founder & CEO Sounding Board, Inc.
Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.