If You Build It, They Will Come
You help build the people, and they help build the business. Follow these four key areas to become a successful leader.
Being an effective manager requires employees to trust and follow your lead. Seems pretty easy, right? Yet managers still hear a lot of employees complain about being micromanaged, ignored or worse. Believe it or not, some people like to be micromanaged.
Some people like to be ignored. Leadership is an evolution. You can never stop learning, even as you are teaching. This last year has taught me a lot about being a leader and the ability to self-assess. Here are some key areas crucial to being a successful leader.
It really does begin with respect. You must earn the respect of the people you are leading, just as much as they need to earn yours. We hire adults. We need to treat them like adults. We need to trust in their abilities to do what they were hired to do.
A great place to start is when you are training an employee. Keep in mind that these moments will shape how they come to you in the future. Use them to build respect. Get to know what makes the individual tick. Understand how they best learn, even if it is not the easiest way for you to train. Let them know you are not perfect and that you do not expect them to be either.
A good leader is compassionate and understanding. We have all been in difficult situations in our careers where we needed flexibility, compassion and empathy. I know I have. As a father to three boys, I deal with school, crazy sport schedules and things that can pop up at any time. The people that work for you are working to take care of their families too. Be flexible and show compassion. It goes a long way in inspiring employees to work hard for you.
Be mindful of those who try to push the boundaries of your compassion. It can happen to the best of us. Someone may take some liberties with your flexibility. Know when someone has crossed the line and deal with it before it becomes a team morale issue. It is easier to get rid of a high-performing employee that is not helping the team than it is to fix a deflated team morale.
The “worse” that I mentioned earlier was in reference to those that struggle to find a leadership identity. Commonly, this is a leader that has one foot out the door. But hey, you are not going to be that leader, right? You are going to be confident, self-aware and in touch with your team.
A team that sees a confident leader can build their own confidence. Foster that type of environment; when they have success from that, be sure to tell them what that means to you. Let the team, or individuals, know that as often as you can. Are there individuals that make your job easier? Does the whole team do that for you? However you choose to give that praise to them, make it sincere.
Think about the fact that you never get tired of being told you are doing a good job. Or being told that you are appreciated. One of these days your praise is going to turn someone’s day around when they need it the most. They will tell you. And that is such a great win!
It’s a Two-Way Street
My last lesson is an important one. You work for your team every bit as much as they work for you. If you are supporting them the right way, you are building them to be better at what they do. It can be as simple as taking a task off their plate. You may be freeing up a set of time that they need to get something critical done.
Again, if they feel that support coming from you, they will want to continue to perform for you. When things are extremely busy and they see you on the front line with them, they will appreciate it more than you may ever know. Let them know you have their back.
I have an absolutely wonderful team that I support. They make my job and life easier. I do my best to build them so that they can help the team. I have seen each one of them improve in certain ways and I hope that the support that they receive from me has helped in that. That is the job of a leader. You help build the people, and they help build the business.
Mike Chagolla is Operations Manager for The PSA Network.
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