Our blog team launched a leadership series which debuted with tips on communication. As the second instalment, we continue to focus on a leader’s behaviour and how it impacts your employees. Leaders at all levels help set the tone for their organisations. Here are some tips that may be useful for you.
As a leader your role is to achieve results through others. Whilst it’s a part of your job to evaluate your employee’s work, be assured that they are also appraising you as their leader. Your employees are asking themselves, “Does my leader practice what they preach?”
Whilst they may not be running to HR for every discrepancy, they do take mental notes when you don’t follow certain procedures, avoid being accountable for when things go wrong, or speak negatively about a client. Even small actions, such as hurrying to your office without saying “Good Morning” can be interpreted that you don’t value your team. Would you be surprised if your employees do the same?
We all cast shadows. As the leader of your team, you are always on show demonstrating what is acceptable by your behaviour. Your employees watch what you do and draw conclusions – you set the tone. If you want to shape their behaviour, start first by assessing your own.
Happy employees are productive employees. It’s not necessary to be a friendly leader that everyone likes all the time.
Being a leader requires more than just being friendly with your staff, you also need to be fair and firm. Being fair does not mean you’re always agreeing to all the team’s needs and expectations. That said, a fair leader is one who is respectful of their employee’s needs and opinions, whether they agree with them or not.
A fair leader is willing to listen to their employees and collaborate with them to find a solution that is best for the situation at hand. Don’t tolerate disrespectful or unproductive behaviour. Behaviour of that nature should always be called out but listen to feedback and take it on board. This is where your communication skills are vital!
As a leader, you have expectations from your team and will also be required to make difficult decisions. It may be challenging to separate yourself from your role, which is why setting clear and firm boundaries is paramount. Your team needs to understand your expectations and ways of working. Provided you are being fair in establishing those expectations, it is reasonable to be firm.
Listening is an essential factor in building rapport. The more you listen to what your employees are saying, the more you will be able to understand what motivates them and consider their perspective when making decisions.
Listening is not easy. You are competing with distractions, your own convictions, and the topic. There are many other reasons that can hinder your ability to concentrate of what is being said and understanding the message.
There are always two elements to a message: verbal and non-verbal. Non-verbal messages like gestures and facial expressions help you understand what they want to say.
Effective listening involves more than just using your ears. Give your employees your full attention—no peeking at your other screens!— maintain eye contact and position your body in their direction.
Above all, don’t make assumptions. Clarify your understanding by summarising what has been said. Then, provide an opportunity for them to correct you. When you verbally repeat what your employees are telling you, it makes them feel heard.
The overarching objective of a leader is about achieving results through others. As a leader, your team should always come first, so make time for them.
It’s understood that you have objectives that you need to deliver. Without you being available when they need you, the team won’t know what to do. They won’t have the support and guidance that they need to meet their objectives. It is safe to say, that an unavailable leader is a sure way to demotivate even the most engaged employees.
Avoid this by having sufficient time in your schedule— on a daily and/or weekly basis— that is dedicated for your team. Set regular catch-ups or time when they can book in to see you and/or drop in. It is essential that your employees know when they can get time with you and don’t feel that they are interrupting you!
Consider a proactive approach too, where you make time every day to walk around the office. If they work remotely, contact the team and check in. See how their day is going and ask what support they need.
Whether you are a seasoned leader or new to the role, reflecting on your behaviour and how it impacts on your team is time well spent. If you feel that you need guidance through coaching in any of the areas that we have mentioned in this blog, our team of HR experts can help. HR can be painful. We do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on running the show. Get help now. Contact us today.