For many people in business, the last thing they want to worry about (or do) is manage people. They would much rather get out and meet customers and create awesome products and bring exciting new opportunities through your front door. But unless you've hired people to take on the task of managing your employees, then you're still on the hook for that task -- like it or not.
But here's some good news: you can make that task a little bit easier for yourself by remembering these 7 essential leadership keys, and your organization will benefit as a direct result.
1. Don't take It all too seriously
Without a doubt, running a company is serious business. Products and services must be sold and delivered, and money must be made. Despite the gravity of these responsibilities, successful leaders make their organizations fun places to work. Instead of having employees who look for every possible reason to call in sick or to arrive to work late or go home early, organizations work hard and play hard end up with a more loyal, energized workforce.
2. Recognize achievements
Every employee wants to do a good job. And when they do a good job, employees want recognition from their bosses. Unfortunately, few bosses do much in the way of recognizing and rewarding employees for a job well done. The good news is that there are many things bosses can do to recognize employees that cost little or no money, are easy to implement, and that take only a few minutes to accomplish.
3. Set goals
Every employee needs goals to strive for. Not only do goals give employees direction and purpose, but they ensure that your employees are working towards the overall organizational goals. Set specific and measurable goals with your employees, then regularly monitor their progress toward achieving them.
4. Delegate wisely
The key to leadership success is to learn to effectively delegate both the responsibility for completing assignments and the authority required to get things done. Many bosses feel that they need to control every little thing that their employees do. This is a recipe for disaster. When you delegate work to employees, you multiply the amount of work you can accomplish while you develop your employees' confidence, leadership and work skills.
5. Think about lasting solutions
No matter how difficult the problem, there is always a quick solution, and leaders are happiest when they are devising solutions to problems. The trouble is that, in our zeal to fix things quickly and move on to the next fire, we often overlook the lasting solution that may take longer to develop. Although it's more fun to be a firefighter, the next time you have a problem to solve in your organization, deal with the cause of the problem instead of simply treating the symptoms.
6. Make time for employees
Above all, leadership is a people job. When an employee needs to talk with you -- whatever the reason -- make sure that you set aside the time to do so. Put your work aside for a moment, put down your smartphone, and focus on the person standing in front of you.
Far too many bosses communicate far too little. It's often difficult for busy business owners and executives to keep their employees up to date on the latest organizational news. Regardless, you must make every effort to get employees the information they need to do their jobs quickly and efficiently.