As a leader it is hard to run the gauntlet each day.
You get up, look at yourself in the mirror, try and get yourself motivated – only to know when you walk through the door, your aim is to achieve a level of suitable motivation from your employees or team.
Wouldn’t it be great if your team, not only were self-driven, but could support each other in times of stress or difficulty?
Fortunately, this is not just a pipe dream, it can happen. But first you need to invest in them.
Employees who feel appreciated and valued by those above them are infinitely more likely to go above and beyond for those around them. They will be happier in their roles, happier with their colleagues and the outputs they are tasked to create.
How can you start connecting with your employees, in a meaningful and constructive way? I have given you some ideas below to start the journey.
Remember before your start, no one is perfect, you will get it wrong, you will forget, and you will stumble. When this happens, acknowledge your mistake, apologise, get back up and try again.
There are a million ways to show you value your team, but here are a few that I have found personally over the years leaders seem to get wrong.
1. Be honest, real and transparent
Your team will have a good inbuild B*S detector, omitting the facts from conversations with them will just put their heckles up. By giving them information, you are getting them to invest in the journey, having a strong team means everyone is on the same path to the same goal.
Bad news? Is just that bad news. It will be tomorrows fish and chip wrapper – so by discussing any bad news, you can have some important conversations, learn some hard truths, and create opportunities for improvement.
My recommendation is grow an environment where employees are encouraged to ask for feedback. This can sometimes be challenging for all parties involved but communicating ‘well done’ and ‘this could be better’ means you all know the expectations for success.
2. Make time for them
How often do you think to yourself, ‘I have too much to do, to stop and listen to this’.
When you hear yourself think that, stop. That is exactly the time to listen. Hold yourself accountable to making time for a simple chat, your teams well-being and engagement is worth it.
If you struggle with positive reinforcement, take time to give one piece of specific and personal feedback to a single team member each day. By showing appreciation, you will create rapport. Not just, ‘good job’, but ‘thank you for organising and contributing to that meeting – it was really important for us to connect to understand the challenges with the project’ – make it specific and meaningful.
3. Set expectations, and don’t over-promise.
It is really easy to tell people what they want to hear.
I have had several leaders over the years that get overexcited and over-promise, while that makes you, as a leader, feel good and important, it can really impact team morale if it doesn’t happen. So be patient with new ideas or good news – so you can create more impact with certainty.
4. Create opportunities
By listening to your team and understanding where their passions lie you can open their world to other parts of the business – this will keep them engaged and give them an opportunity to spread their wings.
Over the years, I have made it clear to my teams I am training and developing them for their next job, not this one. Whilst that creates a whole bunch of anxiety from some leaders who think – I could not possibly lose my team! I knew my onboarding and succession plans were good enough that I could replicate another amazing team member when people grew to be amazing leaders themselves.
So, don’t be scared, your employees will love you for investing in them personally outside of their normal 9-5.
5. Show you trust them by giving them ownership
Delegation, delegation, delegation. If you only take one thing away from this article, then let this be it. Delegating sounds easy, but passing the baton effectively requires a lot of trust, communication, and coordination.
As a leader, delegating is important because you can’t—and shouldn’t—do everything yourself, it is not just ‘fobbing’ off work to others, it is not a sign of weakness. Please, read that sentence again.
Delegating empowers your team, builds trust, and assists with professional development. Not only will the employee be entrusted with the opportunity to grow and succeed, but other employees will be inspired by seeing their colleague's creativity rewarded.
Being an awesome leader takes time, but it will eventually pay dividends with a happy, productive and motivated team. What is the best that could happen?
At Blue Mercury Leadership, we have a programme to discuss, the importance and implementation of Emotional Culture, Employee Experience and Customer Experience in Teams and Organisations.
If this is something that your team need to invest time and energy in, please get in touch at our website www.bluemercury.co.nz we would love to help.