Most business leaders have more than enough to do: capital to secure, products to develop, websites to design, marketing campaigns to roll out. It's no wonder that managing employees often gets put on the back burner--something to be handled when there's nothing else to do. And, of course, there's always something to do when you're in charge.
But forgetting to prioritize the people management side of your business means that performance can suffer--and so can your bottom line. Give these seven habits of particularly effective leaders a try and watch what happens.
1. Put people first
In the daily rush of activities, it's easy to forget that it's your people who make your business what it is. They answer your phones, greet your customers, build your products and provide your services. Putting your people at the top of your priority list will pay you back many times over in increased loyalty, perseverance and quality of work.
2. Leadership all about what you do with people, not to them
While it's true that leadership involves a certain amount of direction, monitoring, and discipline, the best leaders understand that their role is to coach their employees to better performance by supporting them. Give your people the training and resources that they need, support them when they need your help, and then get out of their way!
3. Walk your talk
If you expect your people to become more engaged in their jobs, or to treat your customers better, or to otherwise change the way that they do business, then it's up to you to set a good example for them to follow. When you set a positive example, then your employees will naturally follow.
4. Make work fun
Most of us spend roughly one-third of our lives at work. Do your employees look forward to coming to work in the morning or do they dread even the thought of walking through your doors? When you make your workplace a fun place to be, the result is engaged employees. And this positive energy is contagious–it is sure to rub off on your customers and clients. Make both fun and profit key goals of your organization.
5. The best business is common sense
Despite the constant flood of books touting the latest management fads, most leaders already have within them the tools that they need to do their jobs well. The most important of these tools is common sense. Use your common sense at every possible opportunity, and you'll be miles ahead of the rest of the pack.
6. Remember: What gets rewarded gets done
Employees are eager to do the things that you reward them for doing. For example, if you let an employee habitually arrive late to work without holding him accountable, then you are reinforcing and encouraging more of that behavior, while loudly broadcasting to other employees that it's okay to be late. Carefully consider exactly what it is that you want your employees to do, and then reward your employees only when they do it.
7. If you don't like the way things are today, be patient
Everything will change tomorrow. Business has always been anything but static. As a result, flexibility and adaptability are two of the most important characteristics for businesspeople to possess. Business is in a state of constant change. Take advantage of that change by being prepared for it--and by preparing your employees to adjust when the time comes.