Cultivating strong leadership is a critical aspect of managing a team – and in order to commit to the consistent development it takes to be one of the greats, you've got to continually learn from those before you.
One way to improve leadership skills is by studying successful leaders' experiences and applying their lessons to your own leadership style. Jason Evanish, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lighthouse, learned the importance of listening to employees the hard way. After conducting an employee survey, Evanish and another leader on the Lighthouse team realized that many employees felt undervalued and unheard. In response, he implemented regular town hall meetings to give employees a voice and created a feedback channel for employees to share their concerns. And before long, his employees felt heard, they became more productive, and his company prospered.
Evanish continues that he learned the importance of setting clear expectations from an anecdote his father told him. When in an important meeting, Evanish's father ignored a phone call. The manager felt unusually valued to know that Evanish's father was willing to ignore what could have potentially been an important phone call just because he knew how important the meeting was to that employee. This taught Evanish the power of listening – what a leader pays attention to at the moment shows others around them what their priorities are.
A third story is about how Evanish learned to prioritize the importance of employee development. Prior to this incident, he had assumed that employees were responsible for their own growth and development. But after a conversation with an employee, he soon realized that many employees needed more guidance and support than he was previously offering. In response to this conversation, Evanish created a mentorship program and invested in employee training and development opportunities. To other leaders hearing this anecdote, Evanish's mistake and how he fixed it clearly demonstrate the value of investing in an employee's long-term success.