Are you looking to move your business in a new direction? As a business owner, success begins and ends with you. Consider how you, the employer, can be a key part of leading your employees towards better productivity and a higher level of satisfaction - just by improving your leadership skills. But there’s a lot more to it than just patting your employees on the back every day. Leadership is a skill that must be learned and practiced to become a regular part of your workplace culture. FrankCrum’s Human Resources Director David Peasall explains just a few of the techniques you and your managers can start using right away to get your business on the road to higher achievement and fulfillment.
Leading Others Toward Productivity
David Peasall, SPHR
When you became a manager, did you think “I want to do as little as possible” - or did you want to be the type of manager known for great leadership…one who influences their team toward excellence and increased productivity? We’d like to think you’ve chosen the latter. Getting there can be easier with the practice of just a few key skills.
Managing can be defined as accomplishing work through others. It has five major components: Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Leading, and Controlling. Leading can produce the most significant increase in a group’s level of productivity because it’s the only component that encourages the inherent desire for excellence.
Think of yourself as the captain of a ship. A manager can choose to either maintain the ship’s current course that may not be going in the right direction. Or –a manager can take their ship on a much more productive journey by:
- Determining better routes of travel and better destinations
- Anticipating and determining routes around rocky or shallow water
- Preparing the ship for travel through unavoidable storms
- Influencing the crew to achieve a higher level of success in their respective tasks
Managers can best lead their employees toward excellence by practicing some key characteristics. The following traits foster professional development, accountability and respect for everyone in the workplace.
- Seek feedback. Regularly ask your staff how you're doing as a leader. This will communicate your commitment to serving in their success…which, in turn, supports your own success. Be prepared to accept feedback from your employees and adjust.
- Give staff a battle cry. To what victory are you leading your team? Speak in terms beyond the mission or vision statement and rally them with a battle cry. Most employees, the right employees, want to make a real difference.
- Explain the mundane. Employees ask, “What are we doing and why are we doing it?” Employees want to know how their job fits into the big picture. Explain to your staff how their work on a project matters. Encourage them to think on their own.
- Smile and treat others well. Employees watch your body language for non-verbal communication to determine how they should behave. Be positive. Have a sense of compassion, respect, and kindness. Operating from this perspective is fundamental to being a magnificent leader.
- Communicate. Take full responsibility for every miscommunication. If a listener did not understand your direction, it is more likely because of our failure to communicate well, not the listener’s inability to understand.
- Act as mentor. Mentoring is a powerful way to foster professional development. The high mark of your leadership is your ability to be away from your team for a short period and watch it sustain success without your daily involvement. At this level of leadership, you will become free to handle new opportunities.
Consider some of your favorite leaders. What stands out about them that made them so great? Think about this… no employee ever says, “Gee, he was a really great manager because he encouraged me to do nothing but sit down and work”, or, “Wow, she really motivated me by letting me know that recent miscommunication was all my fault”. Poor leadership is a grind on the team and discourages an individual’s resolve, however great leadership seeks to ignite the high performer’s level of determination. This will result in a high level of effectiveness and efficiency (the right things done right). As an employer, you seek to hire high performing individuals who have the desire to matter – therefore employers must remember to lead this talent in a way that fulfills their desire to play a significant role in the continuing drive for productivity and excellence.