by Mitzi Taylor
Ask for advice. Don’t make all decisions on your own. Believe it or not, you might not know best. You know all of those other living breathing beings out there? USE THEM. You pay them to have the skill & ability to be the best at their position, treat them like they are!
Be objective. EXTREMELY difficult to do. Ok, you need to take yourself out of the equation. When your employee comes up to you and tells you, “I don’t get paid enough to do this job!” you need to NOT take it personally. He/She is not saying, “Take money out of your own pocket and give it to me” (unless of course you are the owner). Remain detached from the situation. Look at it objectively to get to the root of the issue. You may find out that he/she indeed does not get paid enough to do the job they’re doing!
Coach. That’s right. My dad was a high school football coach and I learned a lot from him. His players would do anything for him. All right, he was old school so they were a little scared of him but that does not diminish the fact that he turned out some excellent athletes! Great leaders put time and effort into their employees. They let them know clearly what the expectations are (“You catch that ball or drop and give me 50!”), support them when needed (“You get at least a B in English or you are not playing this Friday!”), and praise them for a job well done (the whole ‘pat on the butt’ thing).
Delegate. Do what you do best. Let others do what they do best. If you do that, you are delegating.
Empower people. When your employees care about how, when, where and what they are doing in their position and how it affects others, you’ve got empowerment. How do you get them to do that you ask? Hire us, and we’ll tell you! (he he he he)
Foster trust. Do you know how to recognize when you’ve lost it? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but just throwing Team Building training at your organization isn’t going to cut it. Watson Wyatt conducted a survey of nearly 13,000 workers in all job levels and industries in 2002. It revealed that fewer than 2 out of 5 employees trust or have confidence in their senior leaders. No big deal? Now take a look at your turnover stats, productivity rates, attitudes and initiative. Done? Now go look in the mirror.
Get customer service focused. Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s customer service that can set you apart from your competition?” Still don’t believe it? I’ll ask you again next year (that is, if you’re still around).
Handle conflict NOW. Enough said.
Invest in people. Yes, training. In this economy typically the 1st thing to go is the training budget. Ask your employees how they feel about that. You might be surprised. After all, they are your most important asset.
Just communicate! How often do you interrupt others when they are talking to you? Ok, then how often do you immediately tune out when you hear, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” Communicating is listening (don’t try this one at home cold turkey – it tends to make people suspicious), being honest, sharing corporate information (yes, opening the books), giving pats on the back for a job well done (in this day and age I have to add: do not discriminate, harass or put any employee in an uncomfortable position) and yes, letting employees know immediately when they are doing something incorrectly.
Don’t think that these are the only characteristics in a great leader that you should pay attention to. I mean after all, I just got this out of a box of cereal this morning…