Strong leadership is essential for developing teams that are innovative, invested in their work and performing at top levels. The best leaders put their team members first, working to facilitate interest and growth, so that each individual flourish. Grow your leadership skills with these six strategies for a more positive work environment and improved productivity.
1. Give Attention
The best leaders pay attention to their team. Set aside time to listen to employee concerns and ideas, and allow team members to interrupt you on occasion if they really need to speak to you. Spend time helping out and working alongside your team members. Ask for feedback, and be responsive to that feedback to let employees know you care.
2. Show Empathy
Compassion is important in the workplace. Show genuine understanding and concern when your team members are frustrated. Employees work harder to improve when they have understanding bosses who encourage them instead of putting them down. Pay careful attention to workers' emotions, and remember that responding appropriately and sharing your own challenges builds connection. Be fair and understanding when dealing with employee requests, as choosing favorites builds resentment among workers.
3. Provide Information Freely
The best leaders are transparent in their communication with employees. Let them know exactly how the company is doing and what is happening outside of their immediate department. If changes are coming, share all the facts. If you don't have all the facts, tell your team that things are still uncertain. Workers feel empowered when they have more knowledge about their organization.
4. Praise Workers
Positive feedback is a huge motivator. The best leaders regularly praise their team members for both large and small accomplishments. Pay particular attention to employees dealing with difficult assignments. A simple word of praise to an employee for moving through a difficult situation can reduce stress and help make the next challenge a little easier.
The best leaders avoid micromanaging your employees. They know when to take a step back and let their workers shine. Look for the specific strengths of individual workers, and provide training to help those strengths grow. Encourage your workers to develop expertise in the areas that interest them. Then, call upon them to use their expertise regularly.
6. Encourage Downtime
Too many employees state that they are overworked and don't have enough time to get things done. Strive for a work day that flows between busier times and more restful pursuits. Encourage employees to take breaks regularly to help them stay focused. Make sure your workers have easy access to food and drinks, and encourage them to laugh and have fun during their downtime.
Think of your team as an extended work family, and spend some time getting to know its members on a more personal level. The more you know about your workers, the better you are able to make decisions in their best interest to help them develop. Follow the example set by the best leaders for improved productivity and a better company culture.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net