CHF 0.00 0

Your basket is empty.

Why it matters

Supportive leadership is, in my view, a sine qua non for creating sustainable teams.
A supportive leader distinguishes himself by his willingness to focus on what's important for people's well-being. He or she smoothes out obstacles to enable them to rise to a higher level. His ability to support the group - without coming across as a "savior" - is a fundamental criterion for success. As George Kohlrieser points out when he talks about secure base leadershipAs George Kohlrieser points out when he talks about "secure base leadership", leaders should strive to find the right mix of care and dare throughout the development process. This is how to get teams to give their best and operate in the sustainable performance quadrant of my impact model.

Some ideas for developing this dimension with your team

Things to do

  • Encourage a culture of supportive leadership throughout the organization, for example through mentoring and coaching, or 360° feedback for line managers. The hierarchy must make itself available to individuals, providing help and support when needed. Mutual assistance must also prevail at the top.
  • Ask board members and executives to model supportive leadership - and practice it. Leaders must make themselves available and seek to empower the whole organization. Their vocation is to help people develop, until they are able to do their jobs with a minimum of supervision. This means that leaders must behave as facilitators, not "saviors".
  • Create an environment where people can take ownership and try new things. A supportive hierarchy is able to tolerate mistakes: it doesn't blame teams or publicly criticize their errors. On the contrary, it shows responsibility, striving to maintain good relations and encourage open dialogue within the organization. People need to feel secure in order to learn from failures.
  • Give leaders opportunities to train, practice and develop their emotional intelligence, compassion, empathy (caring for others) and ability to constructively challenge teams (boldness). Leading forces and HR should establish supportive leadership guidelines (description of expected behaviors) and explain to teams how coaching and mentoring add value to the organization.
  • Encourage a two-way dialogue that allows teams to express their needs, particularly in terms of the support they expect. Give clear instructions on how to behave to meet team needs. Seek to build trust and loyalty by diligently and consistently following up on agreed actions - and also by saying a clear "no" to expectations that cannot be met.

What to avoid

  • Applying dominant leadership, leading to excessive pressure and a lack of support for teams. Taking things to the extreme, leaders adopt abusive behaviors, denigrate those around them, use foul language, threats or even coercion. All this creates a climate of intimidation and harassment. This must not be tolerated at any level of the organization.
  • A lack of interest in supporting and accompanying people. Managers sometimes exert a bad influence on teams, through their indifferent attitude and/or excessive preoccupation with their own interests. On the other hand, a supportive hierarchy takes time for people. It offers them help and encourages them to develop their careers, giving them the means to reveal their full potential.
  • Not interested in feedback. In the long term, reluctance to listen or respond leads to many problems: dissatisfaction, resentment, staff attrition... Unfortunately, leaders sometimes lack receptiveness and openness, giving too much importance to their personal views.
  • Adopt an elitist and unfair attitude by offering support only to a select few. Mentoring must be communicated and accessible equitably throughout the organization. This presupposes the existence of a solid ethical foundation at management level. Leaders must uphold values such as impartiality, social justice, empathy and so on.
  • Wanting to please and say yes to every need expressed by the team, without making a firm commitment to them. There are leaders who don't offer real support and who don't otherwise care about following through on actions. In the worst cases, they pretend to support their team, but hand them over to the critics as soon as they're under pressure.

Share this page

Explore our articles on this topic

Explore other factors

Talk with us

Leave us your contact details and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.