Be the leader your team wants, not the one you think they want


In the times when doom and glob still roam the global market, the role of business leaders has never been more important. It is estimated that managers and CEOs account for the 70% variance in engagement of workers. Workplace can often be a tough environment, and to navigate the perilous waters, people turn to guiding light on the horizon and a captain on the deck.

Here is a guide on how to be the leader your team wants, not the one you think they want …

From zero to hero

A leader must find a way to align the personal growth with the process of maximizing the potential of workers. This kind of a company’s culture does wonders for alleviating stress, encouraging collaboration and increasing productivity. Things employees want to see most in their leaders are, by the order of importance: Honesty, fairness, trust, respect, dependability, genuineness, appreciation and responsiveness. So, it seems that above all else, workers crave for a sense of belonging, and a feeling that they are valued and respected within the company.

Consequently, they would like you to remember your humble beginnings and even display some vulnerability and self-sacrifice. Evidence suggests that leaders projecting warmth and compassion are more successful that those with a rigid, tough demeanor. Keep that in mind when shaping your authentic leadership style. Do not cut corners and avoiding accountability: Consistency and trustworthiness are the key virtues of those enjoying a head role in business organizations.

Shoot square

Do not hesitate to shoot from the hip, as honesty and clear accountability are valued highly among employees. Steer away from boring corporate speeches and be specific about instructions and duties. Few things contribute to the atmosphere of productivity as setting clear expectations do. That way, a true leader can empower workers to make decisions and delegate some of the tasks.

Horizontal organizational charts are increasingly popular, transforming the business landscape of today. Yet, you need to value both teamwork and individual performance, and not just through praise. Bear in mind that an employee rewards and incentives program is an excellent motivation booster. To keep things interesting and engage people, you should also get into ways of introducing gamification techniques to the office.

Add a competitive edge

Award points, create periodic contests, and keep a healthy sense of competitiveness. The rewards can come in the form of cinema or restaurant tickets, gift cards, paid vacations, etc. People will be tickled pink with a breath of fresh air that transforms sterile business environment. See to it that a chill-out zone is assembled, where everyone can connect in a casual, meaningful way. This is also beneficial in terms of melting stress away, which decreases health care cost by 46%.

Research shows that acts of altruism solidify the position of the individual within the collective. Just do not forget to let the other elements of the ambience do their magic. Adhere to the standards of workplace safety and use the stimulating presence of décor. The work environment has a profound effect on the psyche of people (take color psychology, for example), and is never to be underestimated.

Lead the way

In a shabby economic climate, a leader strives to dispel the clouds of uncertainty and leads by example. Thus, those women who really mean business must inspire respect, hard work and straightforwardness. Never leave employees in the dark, avoid blowing smoke and employing cloak and dagger. What people need is a reliable, honest and capable figure that enables them to thrive. When a heroine enters the scene, she must always be on the leading edge, not blind leading the blind.

About Derek Lotts

Author's Bio After working in a couple of small Australian based startups, Derek Lotts decided to stop putting on his tie as the business world and its hectic nature did not suit his idealism. Once he quit the corporate world, he started blogging and collaborating with entrepreneurs and business bloggers. He has written about sustainable business practices, team leadership, office management and even fire safety services necessary for small businesses that are moving into bigger spaces. You can follow him on Twitter.

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