The worst boss I ever had was rude, condescending, and cheap when it came to paying the staff for the work we did. He would have charged us for the envelopes our paychecks came in if he could have gotten away with it. What he didn't realize was that he got what he paid for in effort and in loyalty and is probably lucky social media wasn't around at the time.
Here are 7 tips you can implement with your team members, that make them feel significant and important.
- Nix the "boss" word. Be a team leader! You don't want your team to associate you with a slave driver. You need to be a good leader, which means exhibiting qualities you would want your team members to mimic. It can only heighten morale when your team feels as though EVERYONE is on the same team. And it might also renew your drive to foster success. You should feel just as accountable when your team rises or falls.
- Listen to your team's ideas. Ask their opinions on what changes and improvements they would implement within the company. And if some ideas are lacking substance, encourage your team to build on them. If you receive some genuinely good ideas, use them! ASAP. Show a sense of urgency. When you sit on good ideas, that shows your team a lack of follow through. And they'll be less apt to follow through for you.
- Give them tasks they find meaningful. Sure there are certain things you need them to do. But mix it up with some things they want to do. This gives them a little power and a feeling they have a stake in the growth and success of the company. You might find they seek to fill a void in the company that was sorely lacking. Also, make sure that whatever you want them to do, communicate those expectations with clarity, and be specific about any deadlines.
- "Pat them on the back" when they do a good job. Adopt the "praise in front of the group" mentality. Send a glowing email to all staff about a certain staff member's accomplishments, and give the hard-working staff member a cool perk he or she would enjoy. Verbally encourage your team members ALL THE TIME. Say: "You know, you're really good at x, y, z." Or, "you really knocked it out of the park with that last project you did! Keep it up!"
- Get on their level. People, no matter their position, don't appreciate when someone talks down to them or makes them feel less than. Don't throw your weight around just because you can. Of course, you are the boss/team leader. And just for that fact, not everyone will like you. But you can always lead with humility, integrity and tact.
- Connect on a personal level (with balance.) Talk about those important and personal things they care about. Show an interest in their family or pets. Find out their hobbies, which might tell you how to best reward them when they do a great job. Just don't overdo it with too much personal conversation, and steer them back to reality when needed. They still want a leader who will remind them of and keep them moving toward the ultimate goal.
- Be flexible. If someone has an emergency situation, is showing signs of emotional distress or exhibiting "burnt out" tendencies, send them home. That person will be much more productive when they get their head on straight. And they'll be much more appreciative of your thoughtfulness when you show them you care about their health and well-being.
Take note. Good communication and a caring attitude are at the core of these 7 habits!
Think of it this way. You almost have to treat your team members as if they are children. That's not to say you always have to hold their hand and talk to them as if they are 5-year-olds. But you should give them the support, attention and strong direction you would a child.
Most important, to make sure your team is putting in worthy effort and your business is putting out worthy product, you must first make sure you are worthy enough to lead them.
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