Sunday, January 11, 2015

Using your leadership to engage and get the most from your team

Do your staff just turn up to work, do what is required of them and then go home?
One of the challenges of leadership is to create an environment where people actually care about what happens in the business, to the business and its success.
Imagine the impact on your department or organisation if all of your staff were working to their full potential and productivity.
Is it possible to people to do their best every day?
Absolutely. Through your actions, behaviour and influence you can create an environment where people feel that they are valued, can contribute, do meaningful work and can see the results of their work.
These are some of the things that contribute to a more engaged workforce which can lead to an increase in revenue growth, profit margins, customer service and satisfaction, productivity, innovation, retention and well being
Whether you run a business or lead a team use these 7 simple yet powerful tips to get the most out of your people
1. Share and engage
How much do your people know about your company’s strategy and purpose? Engage with your people so that they are clear where your department / organisation is heading and the ways in which you intend to get there. Tell them how the business is performing in the competitive environment, what changes and developments are afoot. Don’t let them guess!
The more you share, the more valued your employees will feel and will develop a better connection with the business. Help them to see the bigger picture and how their roles contribute to this and the bottom line. Show them the link between their daily efforts and how this contributes to the success of the organisation.
2. Listen
It is impossible to demonstrate good leadership without listening. Listening builds rapport, trust, better relationships and connectedness.
Your people’s feelings and opinions are as important as yours. Give them the time, space and opportunity to express them. It demonstrates that you value what they say and that they have a voice which is heard. You may not agree with what is being said and will have shown that you value their perspectives.
When staff members have a say, come up with ideas, suggestions and solutions, they will have a vested interest in how these are being used and implemented. This creates a sense of ‘buy in’, shared ownership and engagement with the business.
3. Practice everyday leadership
Leadership is everywhere around us and is embedded in our daily lives and makes us who we are. It exists in the context of our relationships and interactions with others. Every meeting that you have, staff that you engage with, customers that you speak with are all ways of demonstrating your leadership.
Are you seeing the same behaviours and actions in your staff? You are only leading if others choose to follow and if they are not following you, you may need to look in the mirror and ask what you need to do differently?
4. Treat each person as an individual
Get to know your staff or team on an individual level. Find out what makes them tick, where their interests and strengths lie and use them for mutual benefits and to maximise potential.
This can be as simple as chatting with them over lunch or a coffee in the staff canteen or even better, take them out for a coffee, away from the office environment and get to know them.
No time? This is another way of saying that this is not a priority or of importance to me.
Just as you make the time to build connections and relationships with your external networks, find the time to do the same with your internal networks and people
5. Develop your people
Training and development budgets are often the first to be cut in times of an economic dip which is ironic as this is the time when effective leadership, innovation, team work and good customer service are required.
If you cannot afford to send your staff on relevant and appropriate training courses or invest in coaching or development activities, look for new and innovative ways of developing skills and learning.
This could be interventions such as work shadowing, mentoring , use of free online resources, knowledge exchange in a lunch and learn session, using an action learning approach to solve organisation problems by bring people from different departments or areas together to work on an issue…
6. Give timely feedback
Feedback on progress helps to spur people on. Give positive and focused feedback all the time. Do it immediately as it reinforces the behaviour you want to see. Focus on specifics and describe the behaviour and its impact. When giving negative feedback ask the team member to assess himself. Get him to diagnose where he went wrong and what he would do differently next time.
7. Reward Recognise Praise
Recognising and genuinely praising staff for their effort and their contribution goes a long in making staff feel valued and appreciated. Rewarding staff for good work does not need to be cheesy nor expensive.
Some sincere words, a card with a well written note, a bottle of wine, cinema tickets, fish and chips lunch … are all inexpensive ways of showing that you value the contribution that they make.

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