Here’s a piece I borrowed from Forbes, Inc. about how real leaders need to treat their people…
1. Be interested.
Getting to know what your people can do, what they have done in previous roles, and what they do better than anyone else is important.
To build strong, trusting relationships and show how much you value your people, get to know who they are – not just what they’ve done.
Understand their life outside of work. Seek to build a better relationship by developing a genuine interest in who they are as people and what they are passionate about. Check in regularly on topics that aren’t related to work.
2. Provide regular, constructive feedback.
To help your people be the best they can be, get in the habit of providing feedback – regularly. Your people will become even more valuable to you when they are constantly refining, improving, and building new skills.
Feedback is the fuel to enable that kind of performance improvement. Don’t wait for the annual review to tell them how they are doing.
3. Invest in them.
Know what they need to succeed and give them the time and resources they need to do it.
Understand the learning opportunities provided by your talent development team and encourage your people to go. And if the learning program they need (in order to be able to deliver great value) doesn’t exist inside your company, be willing to fund external training.
4. Prepare to lose them.
Although it’s hard to get new people up to speed, and no leader wants to lose her best people, preparing your employees to succeed in their career is essential.
Helping them advance – even when it means they leave your team to move to another part of the organization – is the sign of a great leader. Like a parent who knows their kids will leave the nest someday, prepare for your people’s departure. It shows your commitment to them and to your company because you’re doing the right thing for both, even if it eventually creates an open req. The risk of losing a star employee is worth the payoff of working with the best in the business, even if they don’t stay forever.
5. Set clear, measurable expectations.
For your people to succeed, they need a clear understanding of what you need them to do and how success will be measured. And in the dynamic world of work, that means providing regular updates. An annual conversation about performance and planning won’t suffice.
6. Make time for them.
You are busy. And maybe you manage a very large group. That makes it hard for you to devote time to each individual. Yet it’s essential for them to know that you have their back. If you think group team meetings are enough, you’re missing out on building deep relationships with your people. Take time to meet with them individually as often as possible and be fully attentive when you do so.
7. Acknowledge them publicly.
Sure, you likely praise your people’s accomplishments during your one-on-ones. To deliver even greater value, acknowledge them in meetings in front of their peers, and in front of senior leaders they are looking to impress. This shows your true commitment to not just your employees but also to other important constituencies.
8. Say the tough stuff.
The item above makes sense and can be fun, but the flip side – delivering the really tough information – can be a challenge. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most valuable things you can do for your people. You need to tell them when they have a behavior that will limit their career advancement, or what the consequences will be if they don’t resolve a major issue – which can include their EQ skills or even their grooming.
9. Give them an opportunity to use their superpowers.
We all love doing the things we are great at – and sometimes the nature of our business doesn’t take advantage of that. Yet when we are doing things at which we excel, we are delivering exceptional value while feeling fulfilled. To help your people use their superpowers, you need to help them unearth them, and then you need to help them find situations and projects in which they can leverage their strengths.
All great advice! And don’t worry about specifically remembering every item from every leadership piece you read…there are several pieces in this silly blog alone. 🤪
Whatever trickles into your brain will certainly be helpful.
And don’t be afraid to actually PRINT THIS LIST!!! I know it may no longer be the “thing to do” as “everything” nowadays is on-line, electronic or virtual.
But if it’s right in front of you, it’ll help to serve as a proactive & obvious reminder as to what’s important.
If you’ve ever had the (dis)pleasure of being in my office, you’d immediately notice that my walls were covered with all different printouts & hand-written notes…with certain words & phrases standing out via the famous yellow highlighter pen.
Many a discussion with one of my managers or employees included a recommendation to “Go take a look at that piece right there on the wall! Yeah, right there *pointing*, below the picture of Mickey Mouse!”.
They’d find that our li’l talk would often tie back to many parts of the basic beliefs & practices that I held so dearly.
One of my very favorites was a study conducted in the ’80s regarding “What are the Top 10 Things that your Employees are really looking for”.
To most people’s surprise, “pay” & “benefits” didn’t even make the Top 5…I believe they were #6 & #7, respectively.
#1 was “being recognized for a job well done”!!!
The more “tangible stuff” ranked lower while the ones that really addressed someone’s inner needs & craving (perhaps, the “less obvious ones”) ranked highest, e.g., recognition, being part of a team, being challenged, the opportunity to learn & grow, etc.).
Many a time, I’d point to that particular list & ask the manager, “So what did you do today to address those needs?”
And while the question was actually rhetorical, it did serve its purpose to help them set priorities. Everyone worries about all the different administrative & bureaucratic deliverables they have, while forgetting that employee satisfaction (which is usually synonymous with customer satisfaction & business results) is – – SHOULD BE – – every leader’s top priority!
I was most proud of the fact that in every single business/area/department that I lead from 1979 forward, employee satisfaction always improved year over year…
…and not surprisingly, so did customer satisfaction as well as overall business performance (as measured by an array of different metrics & measurements).
It’s not a secret that when your employees are happier, then so are your customers as well as your bosses/stockholders.
Same philosophy when your customer satisfaction is high…the other two just naturally follow.
And while the same pattern should hold true when you have stellar business performance (your employee & customer satisfaction should follow along), that is not always true.
That’s because you’re either not measuring the right stuff or your standards are way too weak.
You DON’T establish business performance goals (or MBOs/Management by Objectives or whatever they’re called today) so you can look good when you meet/surpass them, but rather…
You should set “stretch goals” so your business actually improves over time.
And if it moves, you should measure it, BUT learn to prioritize & weigh stuff according to “value to the business”, not “ease of execution”.
That’s about all I have…for now…on this topic.
And, as always, thank you so much for listening!
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