Let me start off by stating that I am by no means an expert on this subject matter, but my viewpoints have been influenced by my experiences in being managed and managing employees. Through these experiences I have honed in on six leadership fundamentals that I do my best to practice.
In order to be an effective leader you must be able to trust your team to take care of tasks. I have known and worked under many managers who carry the cross for every task, ranging from job specific tasks to the basic day-to-day operation. These managers, while extremely dedicated and devoted, end up either burning themselves out or falling behind to disastrous levels.
When you delegate tasks to your employees, you not only remove some stress from yourself but you also help improve the self worth of your employees. In order to be a better leader, you must have faith in your employees to accomplish these tasks and that faith can only come from training and follow up. Be diligent in developing your employees so you do not have to worry about the tasks you assign to them.
- Ask for feedback
Most of us have done things a certain way for years and never think twice about it. However, in order to improve your leadership skills, being receptive to feedback is vital to improving ourselves and improving our relationship with our teams. By asking our team for feedback we can improve our methods and the workplace atmosphere. It's important to show everyone that their opinions matter.
- Avoid micromanaging
This seems like a no-brainer, but this can be a deep-rooted issue or personality trait that is extremely tough for some to break. Micromanaging, in my experience, is caused by everything from a lack of trust in one's team to the feeling of losing control.
Most of us didn't just fall into a management position, we had to prove ourselves and master our roles. As we progress up the ladder we lose a lot of control over those things we mastered to the person now filling that role.
Learn to trust your team and let them take hold of the steering wheel. Hold your team accountable but focus more on your priorities and trust them to focus on their own.
- Trust in your team
We are all human and part of being human is making mistakes. A vital part of empowering your employees is trusting them to do the right thing and resolve issues. It will go a long way, not only for the employee, but also for the end customer if a mistake can be righted then and there without having to consult management. Instill in your team your company values, expectations and goals. Telling your employees these things will help them understand the mindset they should have in rectifying these issues.
- Acknowledge accomplishments
Everyone wants some acknowledgment for a job well done. Acknowledging accomplishments whether through a pat on the back, providing lunch or an after hours beer helps to show your appreciation for an employee's hard work and effort. Having someone say, “You're doing a great job and all of your effort is truly appreciated” really does make a difference.
- Have fun
Most everyone has worked somewhere that they absolutely despised. Work could have been boring, the atmosphere could have been tense or depressing, there might have been fear whenever the boss was around. This is something we should work hard to prevent.
Employee retention is vital to a company's success and in order to keep people around we need to make an effort to keep people happy. Remember to joke, talk about what you did on the weekend, brag about the size of the fish you caught and keep things light. There is no rule that says you cannot be friends with your employees. It can make certain things a bit tougher but overall the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives.