The last post left off on a bit of a negative spin; however, that doesn’t mean that an ineffective leader can’t improve and lead his/her employees onto a better path. I’ve compiled a list of 3 steps that will lead towards being an effective leader. Here they are:
- Become Engaged with the Realities of Your Clients & Employees – One of the most effective ways to become engaged with your employees is to interact with them in the realities that they are encountering in the work field. This also includes being a part of the relations with your company’s clients. You must know what is genuinely going on “in the trenches” to develop a possible solution to the challenges that your staff is facing. Many leaders worked their way to the top, which results in them being somewhat removed from the realities that are happening by the time they have advanced to that role. To improve in this area, take time to randomly show up on the jobsite where your staff members are working. Notice how I did not suggest that you call them into your office for a meeting? No; go to them! See what they are seeing; hear what they are hearing; help do what they are doing. This is how you will get a fresh glimpse of the current status of everything that they deal with day-in and day-out. Likewise, you should also engage with the clients that your company works with and ask them questions to discover how things are going from their perspective. I suggest you do this every couple of weeks because some individuals might not feel comfortable, at first, with giving their honest feedback. The further you develop connections, the more they will become transparent in their responses.
- Provide Honest, Consistent Feedback and Follow-Thru – If you want your employees to grow professionally, you need to give them feedback. This does not mean only positive feedback. How can one improve if you do not suggest areas for them to improve in? Just as important, the feedback should also be honest. Tell your staff members the truth about their strengths and weaknesses. Although there are times when “official” feedback may need to be presented for employee reviews and so forth, make it a practice to also provide feedback during unplanned moments (it’s also key to have a conversation with your employees so they understand these opportunities are not “got cha” moments). Also look among your staff and try to match someone who has a strength in one area, with someone whose weakness is that same area. For example, if you have a staff member whose sales data is maintained in an organized manner, suggest this person to a colleague who may struggle with finding his/her documents throughout the desk. This provides a chance for growth in both individuals. Just as important as the feedback is the follow-thru. If you are going to be a leader who provides feedback, you must also make the time to follow-thru. If you suggested that a staff member begins to develop more thorough lesson plans, then check back in on his/her lesson plans in two weeks. At that point, offer some more feedback (hopefully they made some adjustments and so your feedback can be in the form of a compliment; however, if they have not, do not sugar-coat your new feedback – push for growth!).
- Inspire Your Employees By Modeling Behaviors – One of the most effect ways to shift behaviors in your place of work, is to model the behaviors that you wish to see. If your staff is not valuing the expectation of being to work on time, model the importance by always arriving to work on time, or even early. If office gossip is becoming a problem, make sure that you are not engaging in this act. In addition, if someone begins to gossip with you, twist it into a positive discussion. If facilitators are not writing detailed reports, model examples throughout the work you produce and mention the value of it during a team meeting. The old saying, “we do what we see” has some merit to it.
If you are currently in a leadership role, or if you are interested in one day taking that step, put in the work necessary to be an effective leader. Yes, chances are you can be ineffective and still get your paycheck, but why waste an opportunity to better the work environment and to help others to improve their professional status? Taking the steps to become an effective leader will increase staff morale, drive better workmanship and deepen the level of mutual respect throughout the place of employment. It will be well worth the effort!
Ahmeli…that you reflect on what type of a leader you are and that you make a change to improve your effectiveness (there’s always room for growth).