How to think like your team members

One often overlooked leadership skill could help you achieve even greater success.

Brian Uzzi, a professor at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, defines this skill as "multivocal leadership." It does not focus on becoming more proficient in technical areas; instead, multivocal leadership entails identifying with others' mindsets. Thinking like your team is becoming more and more necessary in a variety of occupations, and Mr. Uzzi believes it can help maximize any team's success.

Here, Mr. Uzzi gives six tips for becoming a multivocal leader and thinking like your team members, according to the Harvard Business Review.

1. Fluency between team members. "The best leaders of diverse teams can speak the multiple 'languages' of their teammates, based on their own experience and learning," said Mr. Uzzi. Remember that each person on the team has an individual perspective and background, so work toward a goal of creating fluent communication between them.

2. Developing a curiosity about people. Multivocal leaders should have an innate sense of curiosity, not only about the people around them, but also about what motivates the people around them. Focusing on what inspires others will help them trust you.

3. Self-awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses. Because multivocal leaders understand where they excel and where they fall short, they are able to use the expertise of their teammates when necessary. Utilize your team members and rely on their capabilities as well.

5. Expand your perspective. "The psychological concept of 'perspective-taking' concerns the ability to place oneself effectively in another's shoes, gaining understanding and empathy for them," said Mr. Uzzi. By taking an interest in each teammate's background and style, you'll be able to communicate shared values among the group.

6. Conduct an ongoing self-assessment. Though psychology research proves that we are often blind to our weaknesses, carrying out a self-assessment can improve collaboration skills. According to Mr. Uzzi, self-assessment "can take the form of a formal skills inventory administered by a third party or a more casual approach including inputs from your team, higher-level managers and/or mentors."

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