Leaders inspire people to achieve great things. They have followers, not subordinates. Leaders create value; they don’t simply measure it. Are you a leader who inspires your people to higher levels of accomplishment and satisfaction? Do you want a culture based on rules, fear, and compliance? Or do you want one rooted in creativity, smart thinking, and open communication?
Consider the following:
Admit your mistakes. Mistakes and failures are life’s greatest opportunities for learning. If no one ever admitted a failure, we would have no polio vaccine, no internet, and nothing new.
Show your vulnerability. You’re a pretty smart person, but you don’t have all the answers. Seek counsel from others when you need it.
Get your hands dirty. Do you know your products? Your employees? Your customers? Get to understand what your company does, who does it, and who buys it. A leader is in the trenches with the people. A leader builds trust.
Hold everyone accountable, yourself most of all. When your people don’t deliver, they need critical feedback. And when you’re a leader, you’re accountable for the consequences of their poor performance.
Invest in your employees. Today’s employees neither want nor expect long tenures with any one employer. What they do want are opportunities to develop and to grow. Investing in your people—who are your Profit Makers—is an investment in your company.
Trust your team. You don’t have all of the specialized skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to run everything on your own. That’s why you have a team whose combined skills, experience, and knowledge make your success possible. Trust that they know what they are doing.
Be open and honest in your communications. Few things kill employee engagement like a culture of mystery and mistrust. Let your people know what’s going on, as appropriate.
Get rid of policies from the past. Does your company still have policies that are better suited for the Manufacturing Age than for the Digital Economy? These types of policies serve two purposes:
- They impede peoples’ abilities to do their jobs.
- They compromise your brand by reflecting outdated, outmoded values.
Promote empowerment. Your employees are people, not machines. At a basic human level, all people desire empathy. They want to know that they are understood and valued. Present them with new challenges and opportunities. Give them flexibility. Provide encouragement and reward success. Empowered employees are enthusiastic, and they perform better than those who are controlled and disengaged. You can create a culture that promotes initiative and rewards risk-taking. You can have a team of innovators, or a team of subordinates. It’s all up to you.