For most leaders, being the boss means being busy. So incredibly busy, in fact, that sometimes -- or a lot of the time -- they run the risk of overlooking the most important thing in their business: their people.
Your business won't survive without the motivation and commitment of your team. For your company to thrive, everyone on your team must be aligned and all pulling together as one.
To make this happen, it's important for leaders to give as much attention to their staff as they do their customers -- sometimes more. Happy employees create happy customers through improved customer service. Not because they have to, but because they want to.
Here are 5 powerful things you can do as a leader to create a much happier and more productive team while making your customers happier too.
1. Make change work for you and your team.
If there's one thing you can count on, it's that no matter what you're doing today, everything is going to change -- perhaps dramatically -- in the future. Instead of always reacting to change, anticipate and lead it. When you're setting the pace instead of following others, you'll make your future more predictable and secure while reducing the stress on your team.
2. Understand your team's strengths and weaknesses.
The very best bosses realize a significant part of their role also involves coaching their employees -- helping to build their strengths while providing opportunities for leadership and learning that address their weaknesses. This requires an ongoing commitment to communicating and interacting with your people in positive ways. Take time to gauge your employees' strengths and weaknesses, and provide them with the coaching and support they need to succeed.
3. Recognize a job well-done and don't ignore poor performance.
Who doesn't like to be recognized by their manager or coworkers when they do a good job? We all do. Recognizing and rewarding your employees when they do great work is an essential ingredient in the recipe for building a happier and more productive team. On the flip side, don't allow poor performance to continue without your intervention. When employees aren't performing at their best, you must meet with them to understand why, and then take steps to improve it.
4. Create a positive atmosphere for all.
Here's a question that you should ask yourself every day: "Do my employees look forward to coming to work?" If the answer is "Yes," then great -- keep doing more of whatever it is that you're doing. If the answer is "No," then you need to get a handle on why. Often, the problem is a negative atmosphere or culture that makes people wish they were anywhere else but in the office. Think about what you can do to turn the negative atmosphere at work into a positive one, and then do it.
5. Lead by example, always.
As the boss, you set the example for the behavior you want and expect from your employees. Remember: your employees are keeping a close eye on your behavior, and you can bet your employees will do what you do. Do you consistently take long lunches or leave the office early? Then don't be surprised if your employees do the same. Do you talk badly about customers behind their backs? Again, don't be surprised when employees follow your example. Set the bar high for yourself, and your people will follow.