Apply the following eight leadership techniques to create highly motivated, self-directed, and extremely productive employees and teams:
1. Provide Clear Expectations
Winning organizations know where they are going and what is required to get there. Employees constantly need to know what they need to accomplish. Communicating expectations in a clear, concise manner are important. It's also important to communicate your expectations on an individual, department, and organizational level.
Continue communicating your expectations on an ongoing basis. Whether one-on-one, through memos, or in a team meeting, keep communicating your expectations.
2. Give Your Employees the Tools for Success
New computers are acquired, but no training is provided for the computers; or worse, the training doesn't meet the need of the employees to be successful.
The policies are not implemented or followed, so employees are hindered by barriers. Time and time again I hear from employees in my workshops that management doesn't give them the necessary tools for success.
Here's the secret: Ask your employees what they need, and then give it to them.
3. Recognize Good Work
Take the time to recognize good work. Recognize employees for finding solutions, failing less, learning more, taking the initiative, working with others, creating outstanding customer service solutions, sharing ideas; and the list goes on. You get the idea.
Take time to give a sincere compliment for work well done and you, your organization, and your employees will reap the rewards.
4. Get Interested in Your Employees
Take the time to find out what interests your employees. Find out what their passions are in life. Is it their families? Is it a sport or a hobby? Is it a vintage car or boat? Is it that they want to accomplish the next level in their education? Is it a career goal?
Whatever it is, the great leaders take the time to find out how to help their employees accomplish their goals. Leaders know that by helping their employees succeed in life, the employees will have more passion about helping their leaders accomplish their goals.
5. Value Their Opinions
Employees want to be involved in the process at work. Giving their opinions is one way to accomplish this. Take the time to really listen to what your employees are saying. Take the time to ask questions. Take the time to acknowledge their opinions. Will all employees give opinions in a positive way? No. Our job as a leader is to set the parameters for giving opinions in such a way that states a positive outcome for all.
You might say, "Mike, you have a lot of valuable ideas and I appreciate that you take the time to share them. So that everyone gets the most out of your ideas, please communicate them with a positive outcome in mind."
Now you have set the tone for giving opinions. Also, take the time to really listen for the "gold nuggets" of information when an employee gives you an opinion.
They are sharing an idea, a concern, or an emotion that you may be able to address to help take your organization to the next level.
6. Grow Your Employees
Encourage your employees to develop themselves. Encourage them to take classes, delegate tasks and challenging assignments, and then provide support. I say this because I run into employees who tell me the following:
"The company wants us to take additional classes and even offers tuition reimbursement. However, when I ask my manager to approve my request or when I actually take the courses, he/she makes comments inferring that these classes might interfere with work. That's not fair."
No, it's not fair. If your employees want to develop themselves, support them. Be the Captain of Progress and remove the barriers to development. Don't worry about losing your employees. Once you do this, they will become even more loyal to your goals and word will quickly spread that you are the person to work for because you develop your people for success.
7. Communicate the Progress
Many times I will ask the participants in our team development program, "How often does your manager, supervisor, or vice president sit down with you and give you a progress report, informal evaluation, or job evaluation?" The majority of the participants will say once or maybe twice a year during the formal review progress.
This should never happen!
Outstanding leaders realize that ongoing communication is the key to outstanding performance and that employees yearn for this feedback. Outstanding leaders make sure their followers constantly know where they stand. They are constantly communicating with their employees in relation to the overall goals.
They are constantly recognizing their employees' stellar performances and coaching them in "areas of improvement."
Empathy, consistency, honesty, and positive attitude when giving employees feedback are important to the way the employees receive feedback.
8. Make Partners of Your Employees
Once we get past the money reason as to why people work for you, we realize that one of the reasons why employees work for your organization is the following: "I want to make a difference."
Time and time again you will find people working for organizations when they could easily be compensated elsewhere far more than what they are actually receiving, but they enjoy working for that organization because they believe in the organization's mission, values, and goals and believe they are making a difference in that organization.
Make your employees your partner in achieving your goals. Communicate the mission, values, and goals and ask them how they see themselves in relation to these goals.
Ask your employees for feedback on how to better accomplish these goals. Involve them in the decision-making process and let them have a vested interest in the success of the project.
Take these leadership steps today to take you, your employees, and your teams to the next level of success.