Establishing a healthy working atmosphere and creating a team that actually loves coming to work isn’t an easy task. With so many different, strong personalities out there, most of which are incredible experts in their fields, it can get pretty challenging to form a team that will be willing to play together, chase the same cause and leave their differences aside.
Apart from the already known elements that make a healthy working atmosphere, such as a nice office, good salary, benefits and the opportunity to progress, there’s one other crucial element that has the potential to either make or break a team – leadership, i.e. the type of leadership you are implementing in your business.
Read through the overview below to pick up a few useful leadership strategies that could help you improve your team’s performance and happiness at work.
Drop the labels
People love working in stress-free environments with people who treat them as their equals. Apart from sounding pompous, the currently-trending titles like COO, CFO, CIO, CEO, etc. do nothing but feed your ego, especially if you are (constantly!) making sure everyone knows who you are. Respect is earned by what you do, not by what you say you’ll do.
To have your people respect you, feel comfortable around you and have enough trust to confide in you, drop the labels around the office and encourage a positive atmosphere of mutual support, appreciation and encouragement. Everyone will still know who everyone is, but they’ll feel way better not having it thrown in their faces all the time. The more vibrant the atmosphere at the office, the more productive people will be. If you present yourself as a leader and mentor instead of a nagging boss, people will want to be friends with you. And what do they do for friends? Respect them and deliver – in this case, amazing results.
Everyone loves to be appreciated and so do your employees. When they feel important and valued, they’ll be more committed to and engaged with what they do. Although a team should work together, you should never forget each team is a sum of individuals, each of which is a personality on their own.
If you notice someone’s doing great, pull them aside and tell them how amazing you think they are. If you see results on the whole-team level, be vocal about the accomplishments and tell everyone how great they are doing. This type of encouragement motivates continual commitment to the firm’s vision, mission, and goals. Being silent on the type of progress your people are making will only do both your business and your people’s morale harm; keeping them in the dark or, even worse, making them work in fear will, eventually, lead to frustration and them leaving.
Be open to critique and improvement
Hey, it’s great if you’ve got an advanced diploma of management but unless you know how to apply it, your management style won’t bring you any good. The fact you are a supervisor/team leader doesn’t mean you are untouchable and/or always right. Just like your team, you are human yourself and you are susceptible to mistakes, wrong impressions, and unfair judgment. You are also allowed to have a bad day, snap or be impatient.
On that note, don’t ever forget your human side and let your team’s mood, productivity and overall engagement be the mirror image of your own behaviour. Don’t be vain – let them give you feedback on your performance as a leader. If any of your people try to talk to you about your management style or the relationship between the two of you, accept it with an open heart. Think about what you’ve been told, process it and – if you see fit – apply a change in behaviour. The more open people are with you, the more enthusiastic you’ll be about correcting and improving your behaviour. Let this openness become your business’s modus operandi and you’ll only see positive results.
Listen, don’t just hear
Create an atmosphere of encouragement and positivity rather than judgment. Understand that, apart from being the people that make your business run as it does, your team are people with their own problems, families, and issues. If you notice that an employee has been slacking lately or delivering much worse results than they used to, pull them aside far from the team and talk to them. See what’s wrong, why their productivity decreased and if there’s something you can do to mend that. Or, if someone comes to you with a problem, listen to them and try to work out a way to help them. Say, your employee is going through a divorce and they ask for a different schedule, so they could see their daughter. What will you do? Try to work out a schedule that works for everyone! Be human.
Treat people right
If someone deserves a raise, give them a raise! Or a bonus. Or a day off. Or a standing ovation for the job well done. It’s that simple. Even the smallest types of rewards mean a lot, so be the kind of leader who appreciates everything people do for the company. Understand that the people who work for you are actually the people that are building YOUR success – the better you treat them, the better their performance will be.
About the Author
David Webb is a Sydney-based business consultant, online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a senior editor at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.