I saw a statistic from a market research firm that stated that the majority of employees dislike the jobs they’re in. And 60% are looking to move on if they can find a better gig. If you’re a manager reading this, you’re probably thinking, “Ouch! Hope they aren’t talking about my peeps.” But if you want to be an effective leader you have to keep your team motivated and engaged. That leads to better performance, which leads to doors opening for team members and the possibility that they will find a long-term home within your company. Here are a few key takeaways to keep in mind.
Be a mentor. Mentors teach and they listen and they help employees develop and overcome obstacles. And they listen again. And then they listen some more. Mentors don’t solve problems for their team members, they help employees to solve problems on their own. Mentors are cheerleaders and lead by example. Mentors take an interest in getting the best out of people. Your goal is to be a mentor to your team – each and every member, and to the team as a whole.
Be fair, but tough. A good manager knows when to be strict and when to apply pressure. It’s not so much that you’re worried that your people will become too comfortable – what you need to guard against is your people becoming complacent. Being tough doesn’t mean you have to rule by intimidation – all that does is ensure that employees will do just enough in order to not get fired. Being tough means instilling a sense of business decorum and an adherence to protocols and procedures and processes. There is nothing wrong with letting your team know that you are out for results and they are part of the solution. The ‘morning huddle’ is an effective way to get every day off to a determined, efficient, and effective start.
Lead by example. A great manager is one who leads by example and inspires people to pursue their own lofty goals. If your people see that you are passionate and full of energy as you try to achieve your vision, that purpose, that fighting spirit becomes contagious.
Empathize, don’t sympathize. A truly great leader listens and connects with the issues that might be holding someone back from achievement. Many times, these are personal issues that are impacting a team member’s performance on the job. You don’t have to become someone’s friend or commiserate over a glass of beer. But you do have to show empathy, listen, and offer advice.
As a manager and leader, it is your responsibility to keep your team motivated and inspired. These are job/people skills that have to be learned and practiced every day before they become second nature. These are skill sets you should also be passing on to those you see moving into management positions for the first time.