An important aspect of being a leader is the ability to identify your team members’ unique talents and then help them to shine. By bringing out the best in each of your employees, you will end up with a high-performing team that is loyal to you and motivated to deliver great results. Here are five tips for empowering your employees and finding that “special sauce”.
- Identify Personality Strengths & Differences
Your team likely consists of a diverse group of personalities who each bring something different to the table. One great way to identify your staff members’ unique strengths and talents (as well as their potential stumbling blocks) is to use personality assessments like DiSC or Myers Briggs. These tools can help your team members increase their self-awareness and gain keen insights into their natural abilities not to mention promote interesting conversations and appreciation for one another.
Review the assessment results yourself and identify ways to use this new understanding to align your team more effectively. For example, perhaps that quiet, introverted member of the marketing team doesn’t speak much during meetings, but if given a chance she could write truly compelling copy or do a great job coaching new co-workers one-on-one. The key to being a great leader is to identify those unique talents among your team and position everyone for success by aligning them to your business needs.
- Be Grateful & Show Your Gratitude
Studies have shown that employees who regularly feel appreciated are more productive and motivated. The psychological benefits of gratitude extend well beyond the recipient to the giver too. Simply put, you’ll feel better by saying “Thank you” to your staff, and they will feel better about themselves too.
Recognizing your team members who go above and beyond, find ways to improve processes, or support others can go a long way. We consider it like making deposits into people’s emotional piggy banks because you know that sooner or later you’re going to make a withdrawal! The occasional staff happy hour, catered lunch, or individual gift cards for staff who go the extra mile all help create a culture of appreciation and gratitude. This “gratitude attitude” will in turn lead to higher morale, which of course will then lead to improved performance.
- Provide Individual Attention To Your Staff
Whether your company is large or small, some employees always feel lost in the shuffle of day-to-day work. That’s why it is worth taking the time to provide each staff member with some individualized attention, to keep them from feeling overlooked. Whether that means stopping by someone’s desk to let them know you’ve noticed the innovative ideas they have offered during staff meetings or providing a bit of coaching to an employee who seems to be struggling to meet his goals, spending even a few minutes checking in with an employee you don’t typically interact with just might give her that little boost of inspiration she needs to re-engage and commit to achieving extraordinary results.
Ask your employees how they want you to support them. If you’re like one of my VP clients who is regularly offsite in meetings, it may just take making the effort to call your employees from the car on your way into work or perhaps mid-afternoon after your client luncheon. Other employees might prefer that ten or fifteen-minute in-person one-to-one check-in with you every couple of days to really feel supported. This is not a one-size-fits-all type of approach, but you may be surprised at how little it will take for you to connect with your employees!
- Delegate & Allow for Autonomy
Most people have an easier time remaining motivated when they don’t feel overly confined or micro-managed. It can be scary at first, but delegating more and letting your employees know that you trust them with additional work tasks is extremely empowering for everyone. If you manage this properly and help them succeed in performing these new tasks, it also can boost productivity big time with your staff.
If appropriate, another way to encourage your employees’ autonomy is to allow them to work from home on occasion. Even a day a week or a day a month can really make a difference. This demonstrates that you trust them even without being able to monitor them in person and has been shown to lead to much greater employee satisfaction and higher levels of retention at work.
- Maintain an Open-Door Policy
Finally, don’t overlook the motivating effect an open-door policy can have on your staff. When employees are encouraged to ask you questions or share new ideas with you that they are excited about, the overall vibe of your company can become much more positive and energetic. If you’re worried about becoming too distracted with the interruptions and not being able to complete your work, just consider a modified open-door policy. Perhaps you keep your door closed in the mornings when you do your best heads-down work. After lunch, though, you might leave your door open for your team members to stop by when you know everybody starts to lose steam and benefits from having those group conversations.
Implementing these leadership practices will help you create a culture where everyone feels valued, inspired, and eager to come to work every day. It may take some time for you to lead like this, but the benefits can be astounding with just a little concert effort on your part. For more leadership insights or to discuss how best to apply these best practices in your organization, contact me today. You can also visit the Executive Coaching page of our website for more information about our customized leadership development programs.