Everybody has a story of a less-than-pleasant experience with a previous employer. Unfortunately, functional and tactful management skills don’t come naturally to everybody. Being an effective leader is often a challenging undertaking that takes many years and a significant amount of effort to refine.
If you’re in a position of management, you may be wondering what you can do to improve your performance as a successful leader. Here are various ways to maintain a happy, productive, and confident workforce by utilising your exceptional leadership skills.
Commanding Respect vs Demanding Respect
There is a difference between commanding respect through integrity and authenticity, and demanding it through an authoritarian management style, the latter of which can contribute towards a decidedly unpleasant working environment. If you lead by example, demonstrate a strong work ethic and show your employees the level of respect they deserve, they will more than likely reciprocate. While this balance may take a degree of trial and error, creating work relationships based on fear of retribution is not a style of leadership that aligns with modern workplace standards.
You may be the boss, but that doesn’t make your employee’s ideas and commentary any less valid. Democratic leadership is the practice of allowing employee participation with regard to your organisation’s decision-making processes. While providing your workforce with feedback concerning their performance will boost confidence and productivity, you should also be open to receiving feedback and welcoming ideas. This collaborative effort will allow you to make informed decisions to improve company performance and workplace morale.
Treat Your Employees As Individuals
Remember, you are managing people rather than numbers. Regardless of how large your workforce is, it is vital that you treat each employee as an individual. Take the time to get to know your employees on a personal level and understand that everybody has a life outside of work. You will find that this level of respect and flexibility will culminate in a loyal, hard-working team. After all, it’s no secret that a happy workforce is a productive workforce.
Work On Your Flaws
As a member of management, you are as susceptible to human error as your employees are. Nobody is perfect, and every team member can benefit from a degree of self-improvement. For example, suppose your organisation skills could use a little improvement, and your HR processes are suffering as a result. Being proactive regarding professional and personal development could significantly impact your role as a leader.
Consider Leadership Coaching
While working on areas of improvement is vital to professional success, some individuals may wish to take things one step further and consider coaching. Enrolling in a leadership development program could enhance your ability to perform by acquiring and refining all the necessary skills, such as boosting employee engagement and self-motivation. Unlocking your potential to become the best leader possible is a worthwhile use of your time and money to ensure long-term success.
Focus On Positive Feedback
When providing employees with feedback, many employers choose to adopt the "compliment sandwich" approach, i.e. addressing negative feedback by prefacing and following it with positive comments. While this approach may work for some, others find it disingenuous and often counterproductive. Instead, address areas of improvement in a positive manner by offering supportive and constructive suggestions. Furthermore, consistent positive feedback and recognition will motivate your employees to continue high performance standards.
Set Reasonable Goals
Setting realistic, obtainable goals will do wonders for your team’s productivity. While it may be tempting to reach for the stars, unfeasible objectives can often feel overwhelming, resulting in the opposite of the desired effect. Ensure your employees have a reasonable workload so they can complete tasks punctually and efficiently. This also applies to your management style - set appropriate, specifically articulated objectives and delegate tasks when needed.
Maintain A Positive Attitude
Maintaining a positive attitude is often easier said than done. However, you should make an effort to keep a level-headed mindset and avoid losing your temper in stressful situations. As challenging as this may be at times, your employees will come to respect your emotional stability. When a situation is at risk of becoming heated, take a deep breath and allow yourself to calm down before addressing any issues. You will find that a calm, pragmatic approach is far more effective.