Do your employees love you or hate you? And, does it matter? Although there are a few hangers-on, most business leaders have realized that employees are more likely to give their best for business owners and leaders they like, trust, and respect. What is more, you need to demonstrate to your employees that you care about them and want to meet their needs. Finally, you must earn their confidence in your leadership.
What does it take to be loved by your employees? Although we would never argue that becoming a beloved employer can be reduced to a simple formula, there are some things that clearly inspire love or hatred. Here are ten things that matter to employees today.
- Issuing orders and threats might work in some contexts. It is not likely to be an effective leadership style in business today. Instead, use persuasion, selling, listening, and including employees in decisions, policy shaping, and process development. Remember: the way you treat your employees will typically translate to the way they treat your customers. Today, customers expect to be heard – as do employees.
- Trust your people to do what you hired them to do. You cannot do this until you know your people. Get out of your office, get to know your team – know what they know, their strengths, their weaknesses, their fears and their hopes – give them a task, and trust them to do it. Remember: micromanaging is undermining and insulting.
- Take care of your people, and they will take care of you. This old adage is still true. Build reward and compensation structures that are clearly tied to performance. Show them that results achieved by the team matter by taking steps to strengthen the team.
- Provide clear and strong leadership. Know what you want. Share a vision, set clear and measurable goals, and make consistent decisions.
- Set the example. Your behavior should set the example of how you expect your employees to interact, excel, accomplish goals, and work together in teams. Model the behaviors you value in employees, ask questions, and listen.
- Improve your soft skills. If you do not like or care about people, it will be apparent in your behavior.
- Help employees learn and grow. This must be more than lip service. Help employees identify opportunities and find training. Not only will you help your employees grow and become more productive to the company, you will earn respect and loyalty.
- Help your firm create ways for employees to give back to the community. People want to give back. Identify meaningful ways for your employees to give back and then encourage and support them in doing so.
- Care about your employees’ careers. Take the time to learn what employees want for their future. You are in a unique position to help them reach career goals while making them more valuable to your firm.
- Care about your employees’ well-being. Find ways to help your employees reach their full potential by being their best. Encourage wellness, help employees achieve work-life balance, etc.
These insights might not make you boss of the year. They will, however, help you to address key issues in leader-employee relationships. They are a good first step on the way to being loved by your employees.