Study Finds Employee Engagement Linked to Management Ability
June 15, 2022

5 Key Characteristics of Supportive Leadership

Satisfied senior businessman showing growing chart at his happy colleagues in office

You expect your team make things happen but without the right leadership in place to support and guide; people, performance, and profits can suffer.

Supportive leadership is critical for optimal organizational growth, ensuring employees stay engaged and empowering them to become autonomous, yet still linked to the wider team and core objectives.

A supportive leader is a valuable asset to any business.

Understanding the key characteristics of supportive leadership can help in 2 important ways:

1. As an organization, you’ll be able to recognize these characteristics within your current employee pool, or at the recruitment stage, and promote the best people for the job.

2. As a manager, you’ll be able to work on improving your own leadership abilities and understand what training, enhancements, or adjustments you need to make to ensure you are a supportive leader



What is Supportive Leadership?

Supportive leadership has been shown to be an essential element in the success of an organization with statistics suggesting that 43% of managers rate their own line managers as “ineffective” and only 1 in 5 are qualified for the role.

This failure of leadership costs organizations billions in lost working hours and revenue.

However, supportive leadership changes these dynamics by creating a cohesive working environment where employees feel empowered and valued, meaning, they are happier, more loyal and perform better.

Supportive leadership develops when those in managerial roles are able to pinpoint key issues and implement change for the benefit of their team who are then free to work within an inspiring environment without unnecessary obstacles.

A supportive leader offers employees the tools and tools required to ensure their team produces the desired results without needing to micromanage or give orders.

They invest their time in their team – working closely with employees to improve the skills they require until they are ready and confident to go it alone.

Supportive leaders share the following 5 key characteristics…


1. Excellent Communication Skills

As you would probably expect, one of the most important skills of a supportive leader is their ability to communicate effectively.

The need to pass on information with ease, convey ideas, discuss expectations, and listen to different perspectives is extremely valuable in ensuring projects run smoothly, and so that teams know what is expected of them and when.

Keeping a team engaged throughout a project, and ensuring high productivity, requires a manager capable of using different methods of communication and support depending on the individual team member.

Managers who have taken the time to assess and understand ‘hidden’ factors within communication such as, body language, trust, culture, and openness often achieve better results.


2. The Ability to Motivate

The Covid pandemic (and WFH) has further highlighted the value of managers with the ability to motivate their team, but this must also transfer in-person and applies to individuals and groups.

Supportive leaders are able to motivate their team through a combination of reliability, confidence, and honesty.

Team members know that they can rely on their manager for support, they believe their manager has confidence in them to perform the task (and has given them the tools they’ll require) and they trust their manager to be clear with any expectations, assistance, and feedback.

These factors empower team members to take ownership, motivating them with mutual loyalty and respect.


3. The Power to Prioritize

A supportive leader has the power to identify key priorities, communicating these to their team in a clear manner so that everyone is on the same page.

They will ensure their team has access to all the information required and the tools necessary to perform their role within the given priority schedule.

Maintaining open communication lines is vital (especially when time is of the essence) and guarantees team members understand they can ask for advice if a problem arises.


4. They’re Always Available

This doesn’t mean that supportive leadership are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but it does mean that their team know they can ask for help when it is needed, without fear of judgement, ridicule, or impatience.

A leader that is ‘available’ acts as a safety net for team members – they know they’re there, just in case.

The ability to empathize, provide stability, and support when things get tough, encourages team loyalty and mutual respect.

It fosters an opportunity for growth in a safe, non-judgmental environment where everyone is taken seriously and can be a key factor in increasing productivity.

5. Self-aware and Mindful

A supportive leader knows that if their team becomes frustrated, or fed up, their work will suffer.

They also realise that this applies to themselves every bit as much as it does to their team.

Supportive leaders maintain a high level of self-awareness – they work to preserve a positive mindset by evaluating their state of mind regularly, adjusting perceptions, and taking action.

Mental wellbeing is essential in today’s manic world, and supportive leaders understand that when they are functioning at their best, they’re in the right place to help their team maximize their potential.

Supportive leadership doesn’t come naturally to every leader, there are many aspects which will take perseverance and patience to perfect.

Leadership training helps to promote and nurture many of the characteristics mentioned above and gives an opportunity to advance skills in key areas.


At Creative Word, we offer the following training courses (designed and taught by industry leaders) to help promote supportive leadership:

Mindful Leadership (Fit to Lead)

Coaching masterclass

• How to Act like a Leader

• Stress at Work

• Using the GROW Model to Coach

• Improving Group Dynamics


Contact us now to begin your journey to becoming a more supportive leader or click the links above for details of a specific course.

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