There are those who come into an office and manage (or mismanage) the day-to-day operations of their staff and those who lead and inspire their teams to achieve considerable success. For most of us, a quick flip through our mental rolodex will bring about a few examples that provide a stark contrast between the two.
Building an outstanding and loyal team who thrives under your leadership starts and ends with the daily decisions you make as the head of the company. Here are seven no-fail ways to rise to the challenge every single day.
Pay your team what they are worth
Everyone loves to bargain shop, but it's important to remember that your team members are not objects. Those bodies sitting in those desks are human beings with lives, bills, loans, and needs. Lowballing your offer because you think they should be "grateful" for a job is a fatal mistake. Even if they accept the offer, they'll either resentfully cut their productivity to match the significantly lower salary or be looking move where they will be valued within a year or two. If you can't increase their salary, work out an enticing package that feels fair to the both of you. A few extra vacation days, flexible hours or paying some of their commuting for example.-
Don't play games
It's a sad fact that some managers take a basic and lazy route of intimidating and manipulating their staff with a number of low-level tactics. Pitting people against one another, playing on insecurities and controlling people with hot and cold moods may work in the short-term, but eventually, you'll be found out and they will get fed-up. An effective, loyal and productive team is dependant on a clear vision, and earning their trust with transparency, reliability, and clarity is not a step that can be skipped by anyone. Support an open culture by telling your team the truth (even when it's not great) and not making promises you can't (or don't plan to) keep. Additionally, give everyone in the company a chance to carve out a space for themselves and be fair with consistent feedback.
Watch, listen, and learn
They say that actions speak louder than words and there is a bit of truth in every joke. Keep your eyes and ears open and you will see that both ring true in an office setting. How happy does your team seem when they come into the office? Watch them as they sit in meetings. Are they engaged? What are the three most frequent complaints you hear about the work environment? Is everyone doing something that allows them to showcase their strengths? Don't allow your ego to prevent you from noticing and making changes that can enhance the work experience of your staff. A team that feels respected, appreciated and heard is one that will go the extra mile for a boss who clearly makes their needs as high on the priority as his/her own.
How we broach a topic, respond to negative situations and give feedback matters. Being positive doesn't mean we need to pretend everything is great, but framing criticism in a way that separates the person from the performance and offers clear, constructive feedback on how to do better next time will go a long way with a struggling employee. The truth is that we will all make mistakes and knowing that the higher-ups believe in our ability to do better often makes us want to.
Bring people together
When you think about the great leaders who have helped shape our world, you will see they had a great talent for inspiring hope and bringing masses of different personality types and demographics together with a common purpose. Think about ways you can bond your team together. Yes, happy hours and company picnics are great ways to do this, but what about pairing people up to work on a project together or having each member of the team host a 10 minute Q and A about their role with the team each week?
Consistency offers so much, from security and a feeling of reliability to solidifying your reputation as someone who honors their word. There is nothing more debilitating than working for someone who cannot remember what he or she said yesterday or who flat out changes their mind three days into every task. Since it is likely you'll have a lot of interactions, consider writing down notes after every meeting and sharing them with the appropriate people. A task management system like Trello is also a great way to keep everyone on track.
Be comfortable in a leadership role
It's great to have a good relationship with your team, but never lose sight of the fact that you are the example you want them to follow. Set clear expectations from day one in terms of clothing, work times, and workload. Avoid gossiping, griping and be sure to think about how your behavior looks from the outside. If you're calling in sick on important days, behaving in a way that makes you look immature, unprofessional or unreliable, you'll lose the respect of everyone in the office.
What do you think is the biggest difference between a manager and a leader?