Whether you are starting a new business or you're helping to run one that has been around for a long time, every day can bring new and unexpected challenges and dilemmas. When you add employees to the mix, these day-to-day challenges can increase many times over.
The good news is that your employees can become fully engaged, dedicated, and enthusiastic about their jobs just by doing a handful of simple things as a leader. Give these 7 simple leadership practices a try, and you may be surprised to find out that your employees are as excited to come to work every day as you are.
1. Let your team in on the plan
Be as transparent with your people as you can be, in terms of providing information on how the company makes and loses money, letting them in on any strategies you may have and explaining to them their role in the big picture. When your employees understand the overall plan, they will view themselves as an important, vital piece of the puzzle.
2. Thank them
A sincere thank-you for a job well done can be a powerful motivator for continued success and is an essential tool for every manager and leader. Thank your employees personally and promptly when you catch them doing something right by writing a quick thank-you email or text message, or by dropping by their office to tell them in person.
3. Involve your employees
Involve employees more deeply in your organization by inviting them to join cross-functional teams that draw on the expertise and talent of people from different parts of the organization. Let each team have the authority they need to make decisions on their own -- especially when the decisions directly affect them.
4. Create a partnership
The best way to encourage your people to consistently give their very best on the job is to create a partnership. Treat each employee as a valuable member of your team, and give them the autonomy to make decisions and do their work as they see fit, so long as they meet their performance standards.
5. Create a productive work environment
A workplace that is trusting, open and fun will be the most productive and successful. Be open to new ideas and suggestions that come from your employees, and show them that their voices are being heard. Regularly set time aside for team-building exercises and meetings, and make them fun so your employees actually look forward to participating rather than looking for reasons to ditch them.
6. Provide feedback on performance
Regularly set aside time to tell your people what they are doing right and point out any areas for improvement. If performance is not up to par, work with them to develop ideas on how to improve. It's important that employees feel they are supported by you and the organization, rather than being left behind because of an occasional mistake or bad call.
7. Keep promises
Never make a promise you can't keep, and when you do make a promise -- no matter how small it might be -- be sure to follow through with it. Even if you think your employees don't care about it, you can be sure that they are keeping score. If you aren't certain that you will be able to follow through on a promise, and then don't make it.