"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." - Ralph Nader
Fiercely dedicated employees are cultivated.
The truth is that after the interview ends and the first weeks on the job fade, employees require intentional affirmation from their leaders. They must be assured of their worth to the company and feel that they are on the path to becoming an upstanding leader themselves.
Bottom line: Employees thrive in environments where they feel valued, and employees who feel valued perform at a significantly high level.
Here are a few tips that will place leaders on the fast track to producing passionate employees who understand their value to the company:
Develop the leader in everyone.
A true leader brings out the leader in everyone else. When employees can sense that their company is more interested in leadership development than forceful control, they feel the freedom to express their ideas and add quality to the business. Leaders must not be intimidated at the thought of deconstructing their leadership process for others to observe. A portion of company resources should be allocated to leadership development programs and workshops. Simple adjustments, such as replacing the title, “manager,” with “coach,” deeply resonate with employees and stimulate a sense of loyalty to the business, leading to substantial productivity.
Keep calm under pressure.
Leaders set the tone. If a business leader is tense and irritable, then that mood will inevitably dictate the atmosphere of the entire office. In contrast, if a leader channels their frustrations in a productive way, it displays a powerful example. This communicates that even in unnerving moments, everyone should still be fully capable of remaining professional and striving toward completing a goal.
Encourage internal peer learning programs.
The importance of harmony in the workplace is no secret. Leaders can encourage this type of environment by establishing, or simply inspiring the development of, peer groups that exchange ideas and discuss solutions. Another key way that employees feel valued by their company is by feeling the freedom to think outside of the box in collaboration with their peers. Sharing information bonds employees and helps the company move forward as a whole. Leaders should periodically inspire their teams to utilize an “all hands on deck” approach in order to help find various client and/or company solutions.
Offer constructive criticism with compassion.
The path to becoming an effective leader can be riddled with mistakes. Leaders must know how to directly address these situations without instilling doubt into their employees’ morale. While this can seem like a daunting task, there are a few tips that can assist leaders with the seamless delivery of compassionate, constructive criticism.
First, leaders must understand that people typically tune out what they’re hearing if it’s overly patronizing. The remedy for this? It all goes back to the Golden Rule: Speak to others the way you would want to be spoken to. A good way to set the tone for a tough conversation is to begin by acknowledging an employee’s accomplishments. Leaders must also start these discussions by finding common ground with their employees. No one should ever lose sight of the fact that everyone involved in the business is on the same team in the end. Finally, it’s crucial to remember that it’s possible to speak directly, while still maintaining a compassionate attitude.
Employees who understand their value to a business are aggressively dedicated to seeing company goals attained. They are marked by loyalty and passion, and seek to impress their leaders long after their initial interview ends. They develop and maintain “big picture” thinking by putting the business first. They are wholeheartedly accountable and express undeterred courage in every situation. They are committed to discovering their potential and becoming an influential leader themselves.
Does this sound like the type of person your business wants in its lineup? Start by truly valuing your employees.