Many of us know the difference between a good boss and a bad one. The character traits leaders display and how they interact with employees can determine the atmosphere of your work environment.
Our CEO and founder Peter Stanton was featured in Investor’s Business Daily’s recent article, “Speak the Language of Leadership When It’s Time to Be Boss.” Here are a few of his insights.
Begin with Empathy
Work can be stressful and the pressures of deadlines, meetings, and other factors can weigh on an employee. A leader who can recognize this and be empathetic to the pressures an employee is facing can build trust and rapport. For example, Peter always makes it known that he is available to chat with a member of his team who is feeling overloaded and look for solutions such as passing on responsibilities to other colleagues.
In the article, he suggests that leaders “indicate that you understand this has an impact on them,” by using phrases such as, “I’m sensitive to what you’re going through” or “I know this will not be easy” rather than, “I’m telling you to do this.”
Taking the time to focus on employees’ personal needs rather than the professional work shows that a boss values them and their contributions.
Listen to Your Employees
Many look to the boss to give direction and assign tasks to keep productivity going. As a leader, it is important to be seen as more than just someone who tells others what to do. In the long run this can build detachment and possible resentment if you don’t pay attention to feedback.
Listening to employee feedback shows that leaders value their team’s opinions and are there to help, not simply to assign work. There may be feedback from the team on more efficient ways to help the company or how to streamline communication. Working collaboratively rather than taking a “command and control” position shows that a leader may be experienced, but also knows that there is much to be learned from everyone on the team.
“Pay close attention to what your audience is saying to show you’re not ignoring them,” Stanton said. Say, ‘I’ve spoken with many of you about this …” or “I recognize from what you’ve told me that …’“ Using this strategy and phases shows your team you have heard them and are working on a solution that will best suit everyone.
Praise and Acknowledge
For many of us, working during the pandemic has presented unexpected challenges such as working from home and learning how to adapt to a virtual reality. As a leader, it is important to acknowledge the team for the good they are doing and not only the bad. We all struggle in some ways with work so recognizing the team’s accomplishments can go a long way toward boosting morale in challenging times.
“Acknowledge what they’ve already done,” Peter said. “Recognize their contribution. For example, say, ‘I appreciate the strides you’ve made amid all this uncertainty. I know this hasn’t been easy on you or your family.’ “
Help Employees Understand the “Why”
Making sure employees understand why they are being asked to do something is as valuable as the ask itself. Guiding them to understand how a leader thinks and why a course of action is preferred helps achieve cooperation and team support.
“Provide the why,” Peter said in the article. “Bring them along to your position” by saying, “I understand there are alternatives. I feel this is the best course of action because …” Offering your employees insight into your thought process allows them to ask questions and better understand what mean it means to be a leader and an accountable decision-maker.
There is no rulebook when it comes to being a boss. Everyone’s style and approach will vary depending on the needs of his or her employees, work environment, and personality types. The approaches listed above can help guide leaders to ensure their employees are met with a great work environment where they want to stay, grow and thrive.
Click the link here to read the full article.