Dear Manager, CEOs, Vice Presidents, and Managers- do leadership tips already bore you? Bear with me a few moments, you will see there’s always something more to think through even if you’ve been managing teams for a while.
Today, I’d like to take a quick break from the normal business discussions, and do a little social psychological analysis with you. Don’t worry, this isn’t a self help group, and in spite of my educational training, I have no desire to psychoanalyze any of you. But what I would like to do is share a little bit of my knowledge with you all, and provide a few leadership tips that could help you to ensure that your employees are happier at your company, in the long-term. Too often, one reads well-intentioned advice, but without any explanation provided of why these tips might work. Let me explain why a specific social theory should help you in your position as managers, and which tips you need to pay close attention to, especially when trying to ensure the happiness of your coworkers. Do you have a steady stream of young, motivated employees who tend to leave after only a short amount of time? “Of course,” you think, “they just want to gain new experiences for their careers! This has nothing to do with me!” Unfortunately, this may not be the case… Follow these leadership tips and learn how to take charge of your team!
4 Leadership Tips to Pay Attention To
1. Loosen Up the Reins
Have you ever heard of the Theory of Cognitive Control? This theory dictates that everyone is born with the urge to foresee, explain and influence future events. It’s only when we’re given a sufficient explanation for our circumstances that we can prepare ourselves for certain situations; otherwise, you have the feeling that you’re losing control. And even if you don’t want to admit it, everyone likes to be in control – even if it’s just to a smaller degree. It’s the same way for your employees. For example, say that the espresso machine in your building is out of order. Rather than issuing an aggressive mandate to your whole staff to forbid them from grabbing a cup of coffee, with no explanation or clarification as to why, consider giving them a quick update on the seemingly random reprimand. It’s as easy as saying “Hey, due to maintenance issues, there will be no warm beverages available from the break room this morning!” versus an impersonal and angry sounding demand: “NO COFFEE TODAY.” An elementary example, for sure, but remember this little illustration – prepare your employees for a situation by giving them the necessary background info, and you can avoid problems with those who suffer from control issues. Otherwise, you may be faced with dissatisfied employees, insecurity, or even the loss of authority. Consider similar situations, but concerning daily project and team management. You’ll be surprised at how effective a little communication can be!
2. For the Hundredth Time: Feedback and Value Are Important
Everyone’s personality is unique, without question, and everyone has different needs. Let it be said, however, that just because you may be the type of person who requires no external recognition, this doesn’t mean that your employees are the same. (To be honest, you may be the exception in this regard.) Humans are very social beings, and appreciation and praise are good for the soul. Similar to when you receive minimal feedback in your own position (try handing this article to your supervisor), your employees want to grow and improve, and feedback is a proven method of motivating people and inspiring better performance. Pay specific attention to those employees directly under you. Large teams can also work together and push each other to succeed, but if you are one part of a two-man team, it’s especially important to ensure that your partner is satisfied and feels appreciated.
3. Transparency, Transparency, Transparency
Did you know that your boss is planning a joint venture with a German company, and that your best employees will be transferred to Europe? And did you know that these open positions must now be filled as soon as possible? Did you know that new teams are already being formed to work on important projects? Then I would say that your company has pretty clear communication issues. Communication can be stressful, but it’s the most necessary foundation for effective collaboration. It’s only when you are completely clear with your coworkers about your expectations that you can demand the best work and effort. Without this communication, you run the risk of losing their trust and even worse, they may question your authority. So, think about it once more: are you communicating effectively enough? One more tip on the topic of communication: consider using an external company to conduct exit-interviews for any coworkers you may be losing. This way, you can hear the truth about negative feelings that may be developing in your company.
4. Responsibility is My Strength
So you’re pretty proud of your strong leadership techniques? Always the one running the show, carrying all the responsibility for the team on your own shoulders? Stop – you’re doing it wrong! By taking away responsibility from your employees, you give them the feeling of helplessness. Do you think it’s not your problem? Wrong again. After all, you’re only successful as long as your team is performing well. I’m not suggesting that you relinquish all responsibility or participation in projects, but rather that you try to avoid monitoring your coworkers. Instead, try giving them the necessary freedom to develop and grow – and to make a more motivated collaboration possible.
Try out some of these concepts, and don’t keep convincing yourself that you’re immune from criticism. Self-awareness is the first step to improvement, and to a successful career.