A common misconception about leadership is that it's all about the personal qualities of the manager. But the truth is it's hard to be a successful manager without seeing the company's development as a group effort. Once you lead a team, professional growth is no longer about just you but rather the progress of your department as a whole.
Rallying a team of people can be challenging. You'll be required to work with people with different personalities, each bringing to work different drivers and motivations. To fully engage the members of your team, recognize their individuality -- what stimulates them and keeps them striving to do their best -- while maintaining a collaborative environment where everyone is working toward the same end goal.
In short, show employees that you care about them personally so that you and the team can tackle shared goals. The following seven steps can help you achieve this:
Related: Oh, Shut Up and Listen Already
One of the most important traits in leadership and managing employees is the ability to listen. Take the time to sit down with employees and listen to their thoughts, suggestions, comments and concerns. Giving members of your team a voice, individually and as a collective group, will boost morale and thus business growth.
Listening is not just about receiving your employees’ ideas but also acting on them when it makes business sense. Prove that you're willing to trust the input of your employees. It will pay dividends in the long run.
2. Get to know your employees.
Gone are the days when people expect leaders to sit behind a closed office door and dictate from on high. In modern business, the best leaders and entrepreneurs get to know their employees on a personal level as well as professionally.
Ask employees about members of their family, what they enjoy doing outside the office and the parts of their role that they like or dislike the most. Demonstrating an interest in your employees as people, rather than as cogs in a machine, will ensure that they feel valued.
3. Be approachable.
A manager's display of willingness to be consulted by staffers is crucial for business growth and success. A strong leader gives staffers an opportunity to be heard and lets people feel comfortable doing so. This type of leader makes time for employees and listens to their ideas, at a meeting, during a private conversation or in the corridor.
Being approachable will not only results in your building stronger relationships with members of your team. It will give you an opportunity to hear new ideas and demonstrate to staffers that they are valued members of the business.
4. Express sentiment.
You don’t need to be cold to earn respect and expressing sentiment or emotion is not a sign of weakness. Adopting a human approach to business management will ensure that you build a happy and motivated team of people around you. Don’t be afraid to empathize with employees about the fear of being taken advantage of. Your team will admire your approach and work harder for you, knowing that you respect their personal needs.
5. Don’t excessively judge others.
Rather than being overly judgmental of staffers, try to help members of your team work through the issues they're having. If someone is struggling to grasp a new business concept, don’t write him or her off, but instead take a little extra time to walk the person through the process. Invest time and effort in your team.
6. Be mindful of those around you.
Astute business leaders and entrepreneurs are tuned into the people who work around them. If an employee is having a bad day, go easy on that person. Likewise, know when individual players are feeling fired up and motivated and challenge them accordingly.
Pay attention to the people around you and work with their moods to help them develop as individuals. This will in turn help the company expand, diversify and grow. It will also make for a dynamic corporate culture.
7. Hold yourself accountable.
Although leadership is collaborative, hold yourself responsible as well as members of your team for performing tasks according to high standards. Work hard, show that you care about the business and its aims and be sure to arrive at the office each day with a positive, upbeat attitude. This type of influence will rub off on employees.
Lead from the front and constantly ask yourself, Am I helping my employees succeed? Am I giving them the tools they need to flourish? Am I showing them that I care about their progress?
Answer yes to these questions, and you'll be using your influence as a manager to move the business forward with the team.