The smartest thing you can do as both a leader and an employee is proactively look for ways to improve your skills. Attend training (our next Bud to Boss online workshop starts in May!) and read as many leadership blogs, books and whitepapers as you can. As important, however, is that you look for learning opportunities in your daily routine.
If you want to be the type of boss that employees respect, trust and follow, start with these seven critical areas.
Safeguard your credibility
Be trustworthy, let employees know that you trust them, and encourage them to speak their minds. Be honest and open in return.
Keep challenging them
Boredom takes a terrible toll on productivity and enthusiasm. The best motivator is challenging work, and as their leader you have the challenge of keeping them challenged.
Recognize good work
Show some enthusiasm as you let them know what they have done well.
Just as you should praise regularly, you also need to inform employees when they do not perform well. Tell them immediately, instead of reserving all your critical comments for one feedback session.
Maintain clear communication channels
Give them what they crave: clear, ongoing, understandable and unambiguous information. Relay positive as well as negative news, giving employees information before events, rather than after, whenever possible.
Partner with them
Boost morale by making employees feel important. Best bet: Ask them to contribute. Seek their opinions and advice. Limit unilateral decisions.
You cannot always give employees what they want, and you should not try to do that. When turning employees down is the right thing to do, explain your reasons for doing so, so they see that your refusal is not arbitrary.