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1. Managing, Without Micromanaging
We know how tempting it is to want to retain ownership over all the processes under your company’s roof. If you’re an entrepreneur with a young company, this desire can be particularly strong. There are good reasons for having a basic set of expectations for getting things done, and a general outline for how you want those things accomplished, but managing your team members’ daily processes probably doesn’t need to go further than that.
In addition to giving your employees a morale boost in the form of greater autonomy, you may find you gain a second, potentially even more powerful, reward.
2. Encouraging Experimentation
The strongest teams are those that achieve a certain fearlessness about being creative. They’re willing to bounce new ideas off one another and try out new modes of thinking and new ways to get things done.
If you’ve seen the benefit in giving up micromanaging, you’ll see the payoff in hundreds of ways, one of which is that your team members will be freer to think outside the box. From Slinkies to microwave ovens and potato chips, lots of things we take for granted came about “by accident.” But it wasn’t an accident — it was because some intelligent people had room to breathe free and think experimentally.
3. Remaining Approachable
You wouldn’t believe what a difference it makes simply to be ready with a smile throughout the day.
There are times when a smile won’t quite cut it, though. For times like that, your “open-door policy” should be truly “open-door.” Employees will find empowerment in knowing their company is led by men and women who are willing to have human conversations about any issues that might come up, be they directly work-related or something of a more personal nature that might affect the workplace.
4. Not Making Decisions in a Vacuum
It makes sense when you think about it, but some of the most productive employees are those who feel they have real buy-in at the companies they work for. Their paycheck keeps them coming back — and so does the health care, retirement account and stock options. This is a literal buy-in.
Team members also want to know they’ve achieved buy-in in the form of participation in the decision-making process. No leader can lead from inside a vacuum anyway, which means you should try out many ways to solicit feedback from employees or otherwise include them more:
- Assemble committees or action teams to address specific problems, or gather representatives from each department when company direction and strategy is approaching a major change.
- Distribute employee surveys to vote on decisions that stand to affect the whole company.
- At all times, ensure employees can provide feedback to their direct superiors and company leadership, such as through a digital suggestion box.
The point is, employees will turn in some of their best work when they feel like they’re truly a part of the company’s fabric and have a real stake in determining its future.
5. Committing to Ongoing Learning
No one is ever a finished product at any stage of life — and certainly not those of us who have achieved some kind of leadership role. Team leaders, startup owners and CEOs need to know how to inspire waves of new employees to invest in themselves.
The ideal employee is one who is always learning and always reaching for new possibilities and responsibilities. Great leaders instill this quality by demonstrating their own curiosity and desire to broaden their horizons and expand their minds. Read, learn, share, then repeat.
6. Teaching on Success and Failure Alike
Every company makes its share of mistakes and has setbacks. The trick is making sure even your failures are the product of reaching for excellence. One of your jobs as a leader — as you’re encouraging more free-form thought and more enterprising ways to solve problems — is to have honest conversations, free from judgment, whether a venture ends in success or failure.
Every new event, good or ill, is a learning opportunity — and your team should be excited to engage in open, positive and constructive dialogue regardless of the outcome. Some mistakes can be costly, but a missed opportunity for growth and exploration could be even costlier.
7. Knowing How to Incentivize
Even employees who are engaged with the company’s mission and committed to executing it can stand to benefit from a little incentivization now and then.
Incentivization can help employees get back in touch with their role. A friendly competition among your sales staff, for example, where the winner takes home a generous gift card or a similar prize, might help them remember and employ some of their most successful techniques. And for team members in any department, periodic bonuses for stellar productivity or results are always a good motivator.
You could find ways to incentivize your team members into taking on all kinds of extra challenges — such as reading industry-relevant articles and white papers, along with pursuing accreditation’s and certifications.
As you can see, being a leader is about more than filling a leadership position! With these seven methodologies at your disposal, you should be well on your way to a happier, empowered and more cohesive team with a greater sense of shared purpose.
March 5, 2019 at 12:33PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs