Leadership & Management

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Lead The Way, Not Boss Aound

A generation ago, employees were seen to be more easily motivated by monetary compensation and job promotions.

Since then, expectations of an ideal working environment have changed drastically. Buzz words like “work-life balance” and “employee engagement” dominate today’s workplace.

To adapt to the current trend, technology giants Google and Facebook have implemented benefits like catered lunches, comprehensive trainings and personal development programmes to great success. Today, they are considered some of the most desirable employers in the world.

With that in mind, management styles have changed to be more appealing to the current generation’s wants and needs.

As a young entrepreneur, you know this better than anyone else! People aren’t interested in being yes-men to stiff bosses anymore – they want to work together with leaders.

Be a leader that says, “Let’s go” instead of “Go”; someone who discusses, not instruct. The things that differentiate a leader from a boss lie in a simple shift of your perspective.

1. Work as a team player.
When figuring out a problem, work together with your employees instead of pointing fingers and barking orders.

Sitting down with your employees to get things done will boost morale as it shows that you’re all in this together. It is also a great way to learn new ideas from different burgeoning minds!

2. Learn to let go.
Entrepreneurs tend to get too used to doing everything alone, including firefighting.

With a team in tow, you should work together to solve problems, with you taking the lead. Be actively involved in the correction process with your employees – never let them feel that they’re left to face a difficult situation alone. Your long-term aim is to get them see problems as a learning opportunity, so that some time down the road, they may be able to tackle issues all on their own!

3. Develop talent.
Employees aren’t just people on your payroll. They are individuals with talents that deserve to be honed and explored.

A common fear among entrepreneurs in aiding talent development is “What if they run off to work for someone else after they’re well-trained?” But do you really want someone untrained working for you? Invest in advancing their skills and watch them flourish, a benefit that you will be able to reap sooner than you think.

4. Give credit where credit is due.
Great work deserves to be acknowledged and it helps your employees feel good about themselves.

Letting them have pride in what they do helps them inject more passion and motivation into their day-to-day. It also gives them more confidence in executing, which usually results in higher quality work.

5. Generate enthusiasm.
Fear used to be the currency used to get things done, but enthusiasm is an even greater motivation to produce great work.

Team camaraderie is an important morale booster as each member feeds off each other’s enthusiasm, so avoid creating a culture where everyone works in silo.

Encourage your team to ask questions no matter how silly they may think they are and set goals together. Instilling a strong sense of belonging goes a long way.

6. Lead by example.
If you want your team members in the office by 9am, be there at 9am as well. Leading by example creates a picture of what’s possible, making it easier for people to follow you.

Walking the talk is the best way to get buy-in from your team – whether it is on a client project or the overall company vision.

7. Be approachable.
A welcoming, open leader inspires honesty and respect amongst employees. Don’t be afraid to crack a joke if you notice your new employee feeling a bit out of place in his or her new surroundings.

Have an open-door policy that allows employees to see you whenever they feel the need to, even if it isn’t about work (but be careful about keeping things professional!).

Letting them see that side of you gains you respect as not only their employer, but as a person they can trust.

Becoming a leader isn’t something that can happen overnight, but it can be achieved with determination and discipline.

Great leaders aren’t born, but shaped over time. While it may take a while for you to shake off old habits, the benefits you stand to reap will be more than worth it.

Just a few changes could drastically improve morale, productivity and ultimately, profits.