As the year comes to a close, you should be reviewing your leadership techniques.
Sydney Finkelstein, professor of management and director of the Leadership Center at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business, writes in Harvard Business Review about common behaviors of the most successful leaders. Below, find out the five that you must engage in to benefit your employees while achieving your company's goals. The list might just make you realize that you're in need of some management skills training.
1. Lead the individual
To be a great leader, you need to lead each employee as an individual rather than motivating through an all-team strategy, Finkelstein advises. When it comes to promotions, raises, and career development, don't stick to "rigid competency models." Instead, push people to grow their unique strengths to help achieve the company goals. "Ensure you understand what makes them tick," he writes. "Be available and accessible for one-on-one conversations. Deliver lessons cued to individual developmental needs."
2. Pump meaning into productivity
You need to set an inspiring vision and purpose for the work your employees do; the purpose cannot be just to grow revenue and cut costs. And once you set your vision, you have inspire confidence in your employees. Finkelstein offers some examples: "Legendary bosses like Bill Sanders in real estate, Julian Robertson in hedge funds, and Bill Walsh in professional football all communicated visions that entranced employees and left them hell-bent on success."
3. Give constant feedback
Do not wait for the annual performance review to give feedback. Unfortunately, only 2 percent of managers give regular feedback, according to the 2013 Society for Human Resource Management survey. Not giving feedback or lumping it in with salary discussions makes the feedback ineffective, Finkelstein says. You need to give personalized feedback on a weekly basis. This will help employees hone their skills and talent, which will in turn help your bottom line.
4. Start listening
Most employees want to contribute and take initiative, so if that's not happening it's a sign you're doing something wrong. You want to foster a collaborative environment where people's ideas are taken seriously. "The best leaders spend a great deal of time listening. They pose problems and challenges, then ask questions to enlist the entire team in generating solutions," Finkelstein writes.
5. Send a consistent message
When running a startup, things change quickly. But if you aren't consistent in what you expect from your employees, even when initiatives change, you'll lose team motivation. Finkelstein says your "management style, vision, expectations, feedback and openness to ideas" should be consistent. You want your employees to know what to expect from their leader.