What is my leadership style? What type of leadership do employees respond to best? Am I a respected leader? These and many other similar questions have been asked by business managers and senior leaders for decades and although their answers change based on a few factors, including which management philosophy book happens to be climbing the New York Times best seller list at the moment, one thing does not change—the reason these questions are being asked. At their core, these questions are all really seeking to answer the question “How can I improve the quality and or quantity of the output of the team I have been charged with?”
There are in fact several acceptable and productive leadership styles. Whether you are Democratic, autocratic, or a servant leader you can benefit from the below tips which will give you a framework from which to apply your chosen leadership style.
- Over communicate: Just like there are many leadership styles there are also many learning styles. Whether you are leading a team of 1 or 1,000 it is important to communicate every day and in multiple ways. Verbal communication regarding reoccurring tasks, project goals, or new initiatives is still the most effective because you are able to immediately solicit the feedback of your employees and answer any questions that may be lingering. Also, following up your verbal communication with an email or memo will not only have the benefit of reinforcing what you have said but will provide a document that can be returned to for clarification at a later time if necessary.
- Be a guidepost: Whether a leader is very hands on or is removed from actions assigned to their team they at the least must be a living, breathing, interactive guidepost. This means you are available to serve as a guide, example, or guideline if need be. This may mean you address a variable that was not necessarily foreseen at the start of a project, providing further clarification about an objective, or simply giving a morale boost if necessary. Being a guidepost will ensure your team gets to where you need them to go as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Install effortless accountability: Many leaders fail because they cannot hold team members accountable and/or are not sure how to clearly define the success of an employee. It is crucial that at the onset of any endeavor you determine what the metrics are to define success versus failure. In a fulfillment environment it may mean setting a predetermined standard for number of orders picked, packed, and shipped. For a business development team it may mean determining the number of prospects spoken to in a certain period of time in tandem with the number of prospects that become formal presentations and then ultimately a sale. Once the standards are set you must utilize your telecommunications reports, CRM reports, or human administrative resources to provide you with regular updates on each person and each team’s performance. Once this is done you will be able to review individual and team performances in just a few minutes. Having this access to almost real time information allows you to praise and further motivate performing employees while also allowing you to do instant intervention or course correction with those that are struggling.
- Celebrate the wins and regroup when you lose: When your team has concluded a project or the end of a reporting cycle has passed you must mark the moment accordingly. Many managers make the mistake of moving on to the next team assignment or sales cycle without formally acknowledging the performance of their team. When you do this you run the risk of sending the subtle message that the outcome really wasn’t that important and that it will always be business as usual going forward regardless of the actual output of an individual or team. If you meet your goals you must celebrate it whether it means a catered lunch or simply announcing the results in a meeting and calling out specific contributors. Likewise if a goal is not met it must be formally acknowledged. The team must dissect the process, understand the reasons behind the failure, and formulate a new strategy that will lead to a better result next time around. This process can be painful but it is an important step in a team’s successful evolution.
Being an effective leader is not easy but employing these steps in tandem with sound decision-making will ensure your team is more productive and will reflect positively upon your leadership.
This article originally appeared on Small Business Opportunities.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Four Tips to Help you Effectively Manage Employees
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