As Baby Boomers retire and Millennials become major contributors in the workforce, leaders must adapt. Successful leaders, more than ever before, will need to create a culture where employees feel respected and valued and where they can contribute their best work every day. Below, we share 5 ways leaders can take action to lead differently.
Often leaders at all levels spend the majority of their time on administrative and technical tasks and very little time leading. If you want to lead in a more meaningful way, start with establishing a new role for leadership. Leaders should be focused on how to train, develop, coach, motivate, and inspire team members to perform at their very best. Companies can often get so caught-up running the business that they overlook their most valuable asset, their people.
Do you ever think or say things like “I wish the team were more engaged”, “If they would only do more” or “They only do enough to get by”? The question high performance leaders ask is “How can I involve the team to make our business better”?
When problems arise, it makes sense to turn to the team to find the solution.
Think of it like this: participation breeds commitment and commitment breeds success. When you involve people they are more likely to be committed to the success of the project versus just being compliant.
If you want to be a better leader, start with how you communicate and share information. Traditional leaders tend to keep the team informed on a “need to know basis”, but this only keeps them guessing or making assumptions about what’s really going on. In contrast, be open and direct with the real challenges and issues in the business—don’t keep secrets. When the team sees that you are open and honest with them, they will be more open and honest with you. Share information freely and as a result you will find that people will step up to help solve problems.
At one time or another, most of us have been guilty of saying, “Just do the best you can”. When a project fails or a deadline is missed the response is “Well, I did the best I could”, which is exactly what you asked them to do. The reality is, people are capable of far more and when challenged, will do more. Far too often we expect the minimum performance or status quo. However, when you challenge people and convey your heartfelt belief in their abilities, they will rise to the occasion.
Every day we ask people to do remarkable things to make our organizations successful. We ask them to work extra hours, increase productivity, and meet daily goals while short-staffed. Too often, we do all this without really knowing them as a person. There is nothing that devalues a person more than feeling like they are just a number. The people who work for you have real things going on in their lives outside of work. They have families, financial challenges, illness, and crises from time-to-time. If you want to be a more impactful leader and create a positive environment where people want to come to work, invest in getting to know your team.
These 5 tips were adapted from an article that originally appeared in HuffPost Business.
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