A difficult challenge for any leader is transforming their business’ employees into its biggest supporters. In most work environments it can be easy for leaders to lose favor among their employees, usually through behavioral missteps that can be avoided. This week, Anna Ashmore offers specific tips for leaders everywhere who want to ensure their employees remain their biggest supporters – through good times and bad.
How to Make Your Employees Your Biggest Supporters
by Anna Ashmore
P utting together a great team is not always easy. Trying to juggle the strengths and the needs of multiple people can be a balancing act of epic proportions. One thing that can make this a little bit easier is making sure that your team looks up to you and that they know you are working for the greater good. Here are some tips for making sure that your employees will support you and have your back when things get difficult.
Be a strong communicator. Make sure that your employees are well informed, and that they are getting clear and accurate information from you, instead of relying on the rumor mill or office gossip. Be clear in your expectations and let them know as soon as possible when there is a problem. If an employee has made a mistake, do not bottle it up for their yearly review; discuss the issue and work with the employee to find a solution.
Be the Rock
Do not allow yourself to become overly emotional when things go wrong. Nobody likes the boss that is known for flying off the handle in a fit of rage when someone messes up. Try to remain calm, put yourself in their shoes for a moment, and try to handle things the way you would want your boss to handle it. Remember that you set the scene for behavioral expectations among your team; if you go into a panic when there is a deadline looming, they will too. Instead, take a moment to gather your thoughts and then get to work. You will soon find that they will do the same.
Do Not Micromanage
If you have hired well-qualified people to work for you, one of the best things that you can do is trust them to do their jobs. Set your expectations and then let your employees figure out how to meet them. Be available if they need clarification or if they have questions, but make sure you are not constantly looking over their shoulders or offering unwanted advice or suggestions. They may have a different method than you would have used, but if they get the results that are needed in the end, there is no reason to interfere.
One of the worst things that you can do as a leader is to blame your team when things go wrong. In the leadership position, you are ultimately responsible for any failures that occur on your watch. Remember that there is a difference between fault and responsibility; it may not be your fault that something went wrong, but it is your responsibility to fix it. If you make sure to have their backs even if they are at fault, you will receive the same support in return.
Be a Problem Solver
Rather than denigrate and discipline your employees when mistakes occur, work with them to find solutions to prevent it from happening again in the future. Relieve cramped working conditions by renting. Streamline requests for supplies. Find the tools that they need to do their jobs well. Take on the responsibility of fixing problems and your employees will take note of the fact that you are listening and that you care about their needs.
One of the most important things that you can do as a boss is to offer the same kind of encouragement and support that you would like in return from them. Recognize that they are people first and employees second. Be flexible with schedules and be available when life gets in the way.
They key to making your employees your biggest supporters is to be their biggest supporter. Be encouraging while setting high expectations and remember to be fair. Things may not always go well, but if your team is behind you, you will find a way to work through it.
Anna Ashmore is a woman of many talents. She is passionate about literature, sports, travel and education among many other things. She is also an amateur writer who hopes to make it big in the blog world. Professionally, Anna is a market research analyst at New Zealand Business Check and loves her job.
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