Manager, Leader, Boss, Chief, Head Honcho, CEO, Supervisor, Owner, Vice President, Executive, Vice President… Being in charge at work means something different to everyone, but it’s clear that to get dynamic, sustained results, there are a few simple things you can do to gain the trust and loyalty of the team you lead.
First, think about the people who inspired you as a child or teenager. Did you have a teacher, instructor, or coach that made a big difference in your life? What was it about that individual that made them special? Chances are they were encouraging and kind, and they believed you could succeed, even when you didn’t think it was possible. They pushed you to perform at your best and to strive for continuous self-improvement. They praised your good work and were up front and honest about your successes and failures. In developing your own leadership style, think about how that person motivated and inspired you, and apply those techniques to your approach to being in charge.
Walk the Talk and Be the Change Look for ways to engage your team. Ask questions to find out what is working and what isn’t – hold people accountable and take action to make these improvements. Find out who needs help or encouragement and then do something about it. Show your team through your actions, that you care. It’s important to be tough and strong, and use your strength to stand up for others, and for what is right and fair. A great boss identifies when someone is struggling and doesn’t let it go unrecognized without kind words of encouragement. Behaving this way demonstrates to employees that you care about them. In the words of Kim Scott of “Radical Candor”, caring personally and challenging directly are two key elements to human and effective leadership.
Be a Mentor Invest in your people by investing in their development. Many managers fear that if they spend time and money developing their team, the team will leave for other opportunities. That’s a risk, but ask yourself: “What would happen if they stay?” Trust that your investment will breed loyalty. It’s not enough to be a results-oriented leader; you have to mentor team members to be the same. You’ll not only gain incredible satisfaction from seeing someone grow and be more productive, once word spreads that you change the lives of your people, everyone will want to work with you and your recruiting bench will be stacked with the best players.
Win with Humility and Vulnerability Showing vulnerability doesn’t make you weak in the eyes of others; it actually shows the opposite. When you let employees see “behind the curtain,” it lets them know that underneath your impressive title is an actual person who feels the same stresses and pressures they feel. Showing that you care and that you are human is an incredible bonding experience. Knowing you are “down to Earth” and connecting with employees endears them to you and your cause. They’ll work longer and harder for you when they know you care about their individual success and not just the success of your own career and/or business.
Being The BossTM means so much more than just telling people what to do, making decisions, and signing paychecks. Building a business is a never-ending labor of love. Reminding yourself that you have the power to influence and impact the world around you helps keep you grounded and focused on the most important part of your business: The People.