What Employees Want From Their Leaders
Transparency, knowing where the strengths and weaknesses are, acknowledgment, a positive relationship. When we look at any team we see a group of people that have a collective goal. These groups at work are employees committed to spending a significant amount of their time with you. The fact that they’re paid or compensated for this time is irrelevant. You as a leader must deliver their needs as your personal contribution for the compensation of their time.
Transparency, knowing each persons strengths and weaknesses, acknowledging accomplishments and having a positive relationship are among the most sought after traits in a leader. Being open in your goals and how you intend to pursue them will build your teams confidence. Their confidence in being free with their information and concerns. Just by being transparent you’ve built your team to be oriented around fluid communication.
You’ll hear most places how important it is to play people to their strengths. Where you will surely fail though is if you overlook the weaknesses in your people. Weaknesses are known to be most apparent at the most inopportune times. Working around the known weaknesses of your people gives them the benefit of knowing that they will most likely not be asked to produce work that is specifically difficult for them that another member may have an easy time accomplishing. It is also to the advantage of the team member that they can discuss their weaknesses with you and understand that it is not to discredit their ability of a task but to find a way to most effectively contribute to the task.
Acknowledging accomplishments and having a positive relationship go hand in hand. I’ve heard the notion that if you can’t have a drink with an employee then you have a problem. I don’t completely agree with this because many employees just seek a working relationship. Your employees want to know that you genuinely care about more than what they produce. That you are concerned about their mental and physical well being. It is now a social norm for bosses or leaders to become well established with their teams where as before it was not encouraged or downright prohibited.
How to Deliver
Meet these needs by being involved. Have time for each team member and make a point to learn at least three things about them. 1 what their family values are, 2. what they do with their personal time, and 3. what they enjoy about their position. Understanding their family values says a lot about that persons walk of life; whether they have families, prioritize friends or prefer to be happy by themselves. Expressing an interest in what they do on their own time give you something to relate them to. Each hobby or interest is an opportunity to create a bond. People care more about their own interests and sharing in this allows you to bring their enthusiasm for their interests into the workplace. Finally knowing what they enjoy about the job enables you as a leader to include them in those activities more than others.
Your Values as a Leader
Everyone has values. Moral or immoral, ethical or otherwise; every person has aspects and traits that they prioritize in their decision making. As a leader you have to bring your values to your team and ensure that they are in line with the teams goals. You values don’t have to be the same, they just need to contribute to propelling the team forward. I value competency, integrity, efficiency and challenge. These are what I bring in to the work place. Requiring my team to be competent and efficient means that a lot of the time I don’t have to question their quality of work. Making tasks a challenge creates an atmosphere of friendly competition.
There’s many lists of values available on the internet that a quick search will pull up various words; some of which should hold a lot of meaning to you. Prioritize those, take a moment and think of at least ten words that describe what directly affects how you make your decisions. These can also be values that you want to develop into having.
Values for your Teams
Your teams goals and purposes should to some extent be regarded as a being. Living and breathing and having values. Decide what factors you want to drive your team into success.
Now, you can’t just rush into the office and say, “Hey guys I’ve decided we’re going to be enjoyable, credible and focus on quality”. That won’t work. You have to develop your staff, and that’s what your team wants. Teams want leaders, who give them responsibility and brings a team to success.
Reacting while sometimes being the only option is still one of the worst things that you can do to your team members. So many managers will be heard saying something to the effect of ‘lets make sure we react quickly’. That’s just the wrong frame of mind and I really try to stay away from telling people that they think just…wrong. No team wants a leader that operates even partially in a crisis-respond sort of way. The team see’s that as their leader has no plan for the given issue. Their leader had no intent on taking action until it was too late. Or even, their leader couldn’t make a decision that would redirect the team to success.
Micromanagement, Why it’s ‘Reactionary’
Micromanagement has lost its place in most industries. While some such as construction or machining use it as a safety net for the employees health others utilize it to over exemplify the employees ability to not meet standards. That’s right, if you’re micromanaging and its not for safety concern, you don’t trust your employees. You also don’t trust yourself enough to determine which employee is best for whichever position. Because you can’t trust your best people where they’re most comfortable. Micromanagement is a reactionary practice because it is based purely on past mistakes, and doesn’t prevent future mistakes. Micromanagement doesn’t prevent future mistakes because you’re simply creating too much work for supervisors and management by making every little bit monitored.
Working to anticipate possible problems or expected bumps in the plan is the trick to being most effective. When you have a plan, your team see’s that you were looking out for their best interest. Foreseeing stalls and delays you can allot for variance in your planned timing. Work with your team for their prospective in what could happen.
More than anything else people want to feel a positive affect from being part of a team, or an employee of a company. Intrinsic value is what an employee feels they’re getting for their work. Pay rate and benefits have nothing to do with it. What leaders should never forget is that most times, a thank you or a personalized form of appreciation goes a lot further than you would ever expect.