Adopting these small habits will also reduce workplace conflict, raise morale and increase overall productivity. By Satyaki Sarkar
You must have heard the saying, “Most employees don’t quit their job, they quit their bosses.” The relationship between a leader and his team is a complex one, and one that requires a lot of effort to yield results. Here are five small, but important habits you can adopt to vastly improve the quality of your interaction.
1. Show appreciation generously
The most important way a leader can motivate is by making employees feel appreciated. Be it a casual compliment about a quick turnaround on an important email to written appreciation for an achievement, a little appreciation goes a long way. Remember to appreciate not just the big stuff, but the little battles as well that ultimately lead to more business, a project finishing on time, or expenditure saved. Thank someone who has solved a problem for you or has put in the extra effort to ensure your needs are met. Be generous with your praise when it is earned. It doesn’t cost you much, but means a lot to the person on the other end. If an employee has shown exceptional performance or done something that has exceeded expectations, leave a written note acknowledging it and appreciating it.
2. Be part of the team
Employees need to feel that they belong, and as their leader, they must also feel that you are there with them, as part of the team. Although open office layouts help reinforce the feeling of solidarity, you should still give time to each employee by making the rounds and making casual small talk. However, this should not turn into another opportunity to micromanage the team. Additionally, roll up your sleeves and work alongside them during a tough phase in a project, or when a deadline is approaching. The idea is to show that you are more than just the boss, and that everyone needs to work equally to meet the targets.
3. Set an example
It is extremely important for you as a leader to be able to inspire your team. As the popular saying goes, a good leader is one that, through his actions, makes others want to follow him, instead of forcing them to do so. Always be on time for meetings, especially ones called by others, and show extra effort in your work. Be energetic and smile often. You have to be optimistic and enthusiastic as well as exhibit integrity in everything you do. Being frank and open with your employees is as important as being able to pull them through a difficult situation, while setting an example. The best way to do so is to always act and carry yourself the way you would want your team to.
4. Invest in your employees
If you wish your employees to have faith and belief in their leader, you must be willing to invest time and effort in them as well. Giving them a chance to speak, and then listening to them sincerely, not just to reply but to understand, goes a long way towards building stronger bonds. If you can offer a solution, it’s even better, but even if you can’t, patiently listening to them also helps reinforce their faith in you as well as earns you their respect. Additionally, whenever speaking to your employees look them in the eye to let them know that they have your attention, and that you value their input. Physical contact such as a firm handshake or a hand on the back of one’s shoulder also has an impact on communication. However, you must also know where to draw the line and respect boundaries.
5. Empathise with your team
Instead of rebuking employees all the time, try to understand the problem, and the reason behind their mistakes. Bringing personal problems to the office and letting them affect work is a bad habit. However, at times it is impossible to avoid. If you come across rumours of someone going through a tough time, or facing a certain difficulty, at work or at home, offer to help, even if that means just lending a ear and hearing them out. Adding a level of familiarity in your relationship with your employees has a huge impact on their work and overall perception of the job. Even minor things like asking about their family, learning their children’s names, and occasionally asking after them helps reinforce the bond between you and your employees.