When leading a team, the ideal goal is to have the most effective employees, allowing the leader to focus on their strengths resulting in success. There are several different ways in which leaders can help others become more effective.
So, how do leaders help enhance employee effectiveness? Leaders do this by taking care of their employees, giving them a sense of purpose and acting as a mentor. They embody passion and positivity while leading and learning from others; all while maintaining a sense of control around the direction and expectations of themselves and those around them.
Each of these skills works together to help motivate employees resulting in an increase in their effectiveness. What this looks like can vary between each person and team.
Take Care of Your People
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson – founder of The Virgin Group
When people are treated in a fair and equitable manner with an authentic sense of responsibility and empathy they are more likely to do the same to others. One of the greatest responsibilities of being a leader in ensuring that employees feel that they are taken care of and valued.
Leaders must become the driving force to build relationships with their staff to gain an understanding of each person as an individual both within and outside their role within the organization. The stronger the relationship we are able to foster the more likely an employee will be to be open with issues and ideas, allowing for them to become more effective within their role.
When leaders ensure communication can remain open and honest, employees are able to have a sense of security over their well beings and livelihood. This also leads to more transparencies in both directions, where employees will be more forthcoming with information as it may affect leadership.
The easiest way to do this is by investing some time by setting up and utilizing multiple communication channels for staff. Some of these may include giving out your phone number, making personal phone calls, sending emails, surveys, going out to visit people in their work-space or inviting them in for an informal touch-base meeting with you, social events, anonymous surveys or even regular coffee chat sessions where there is no formalized agenda.
Give Employees a Sense of Purpose
Striving towards a vision is admirable, but if employees do not see how they fit into that vision, they will simply be punching their time card. Fulfilling their required hours to meet the goals that they are being held accountable with little care for the success of the organization.
Although this mentality may result in a workplace that does accomplish its goals, the effects are often higher turnover, increased job dissatisfaction, and timelines that are met but rarely beat. This all comes down to how motivated people to excel within their work.
Each person’s work must be able to tie into the greater vision. It is a leader’s job to help each person understand and embody the personal value they bring to the team and organization. When this is done the employee will be able to solidify a sense of connection within their team and organizations. When we are connected to others in a positive way we want them to succeed, this connection will create a more effective employee as they will want those around them, and the organization to succeed as both will be their success as well.
When leaders empowered employees to ask for the tools or training they need to do their work more effectively, value will be added to both the company and the individual. The ability to learn and grow as an individual gives a sense of empowerment and control over our future. By having that employee put their training and skills to work within the organization, we not only recognize their achievement but also place them in a leadership role within the organization showing them their increased value.
* Just because a new skill does not directly apply to someone’s job does not mean it can not be useful. If someone has just become certified as a yoga instructor, ask them if they would like to run a free staff yoga once a week in the board room or outside. Possibly you have someone that is super friendly and knows everyone in the office, give them a budget and let them pick out personalized Christmas gifts for everyone.
Act as a Mentor
This is not about having an open-door policy, this is about getting your hands dirty to aid in the growth and development of each employee. Get to know every member of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, creating opportunities for growth, learning, and leadership. Encourage others to seek out their own learning opportunities, and share when you know of something that would be of benefit.
When mentoring, you must take an individualized approach. By making time getting to know how each employee prefers to learn and work through problems you will ensure that your and their time will be used most effectively.
As employees are given this encouragement and aided in learning to work through problems they will become quicker and more independent. This creates a more effective and intrinsically motivated workplace. Issues will begin to be resolved before reaching the point of escalation and the employees will have the tools to do so in a manner that is acceptable to the organization.
Show Passion and Positivity
Exhibit behaviors you want others to emulate is an essential part of keeping motivation high and other engaged. When a pessimistic or negative view is taken either through words or body language, others will begin mimicking this emotion. Luckily this is able also able to work to the positive. This is done through a process known as emotional contagion or empathy.
By staying passionate and positive, leaders are able to manage a team that is open to opportunities, solutions, and success. This keeps the team engaged, focused and cohesive as they continue to work together. Celebrating successes and reward improvement both individually and as a whole fosters the forward momentum of a team, enhancing employee effectiveness.
Lead and Follow
Great leaders allow others to invest in goal creation and problems solving. By empowering employees to create goals and solutions together, they will become more invested in the outcomes. These can feed into and support the larger vision in addition to addressing issues or opportunities that employees that leaders may not. This will create opportunities for the team to be guided through the process of seeing their vision all the way through; including its problems and victories, learning how to work their way through the process. These experienced are invaluable for a team to have when overseen by a knowledegable leader.
When a team learns to navigate a problem successfully, with minimal oversight, the leadership is given back valuable time to focus on their personal goals and objectives. Create a workplace where you are actively involved through communication and feedback from employees while allowing them to lead projects and operations.
Leaders must be able to anticipate and plan for future issues. By listening to their team and taking a big-picture approach, the leaders are able to see opportunities and address potential problems before they occur. This will save time, frustration and effort down the road in addition to capitalizing on opportunities others may not see.
Be in Control
There still needs to be someone steering the ship. The leader must set clear goals and directions, clarify expectations, accountabilities, and responsibilities of each person and hold people accountable. This gives the team a clear path to success allowing hem to be effective within their scope.
The leader is ultimately responsible for ensuring the safety of their people and for acting on relevant information that may impact that. It is important to involve the team in this process, but the decision as to how things are addressed does ultimately fall on the leader’s shoulders, so they must make each decision.
Leaders will always walk the fine line between caring or controlling too much, either has the potential to lead to underperformance. By being genuine in your motivations, passion, and intent you will foster an environment that leads to effective employees.