Not everyone is a natural born leader. Managing people and growing a company are two very different things, and both are incredibly demanding both physically and emotionally. Whether you're flying to your next conference, meeting with shareholders, or analyzing projections for the year, there's often little time left in your day to consider anything else. And while it can be easy to become inundated with every day tasks that seem to demand your immediate attention, in reality, these can all take a backseat to the needs of your employees and your failing attempt to lead them.
The camaraderie that once pulsated throughout the office walls has seemed to wane. Staff turnover has reached its highest rate yet, and innovation has come to a standstill. Sound familiar? These are all tell-tale signs that you've become out of touch with the needs of your employees. So if you recognize that you're coming up short, it's time to do something about it before it's too late.
1. Face the Music
If your employees are given quarterly reviews, then why should you be any different? In order for people to feel respected, they have to be given a voice. Being at the top doesn't mean you can be excluded from receiving updates on your leadership skills, especially from your staff. From online surveys to one-on-one meetings, set-up a quarterly plan so you can be updated on your performance and areas that need development.
2. Pay Attention
An organization is about people, which is why your team needs to be your first priority. Start paying attention to what motivates them, how engaged they are with their work, which employees are underperforming, and which ones are excelling. You need to understand these dynamics in order to build a team that can move the company forward.
3. Have Tough Conversations
We naturally avoid conflict, but as a leader, you don't have that privilege. If there's been a manager that's been receiving negative feedback or feuding employees that are bringing down morale, stop thinking that these issues will work themselves out. Leaders have to know how to handle conflict and resolve staff disputes. Your job is to listen, protect, and motivate your team, so if there's someone disrupting this flow, ensure you have those tough conversations and do something about it.
4. Mix It Up
Companies love structure and routine because it's believed to create stability. However, it also creates boredom. Skip the conference room and take your Monday sales meeting to a nearby coffee shop or park. Sit in on a marketing brainstorm session, pull up a seat at the lunch table, or stop by human resources to get a sense of how the team's doing. There are endless ways you can become involved on the ground level, bridging the gap between employee and boss in order to form a more united, authentic, and knowledgeable organization.
5. Keep At It
Leadership is a skill that needs constant development. As generations transition from older employees to younger staff, leaders need to stay relevant because the way we communicate is constantly changing. Just like every brand needs to stay innovative and on trend, so does the way you lead a team. As the person in charge, you're the driving force of the company, the source of inspiration, and the motivator when things start to go array. From seminars to hiring a business coach, set ego aside and invest in yourself because development is imperative to create longevity in your career and your company.