Advice for Great Leadership—From an Employee
By now, I’ve held more than ten jobs and experienced many different leadership styles. I’ve worked under the best and the worst, and from an employee’s perspective, I believe I now understand what makes a great leader. Today, I want to share five pieces of advice to increase employee retention and happiness while maintaining a disciplined workplace.
Five Tips for Effective Leadership
1. Be a Democratic Leader
It’s not pleasant to live under a dictator. Dictators want things done their way, and they won’t accept differing opinions—even when someone else’s ideas are better. So don’t be a dictator. Be a democratic leader who listens to employees’ opinions and ideas. This makes your workers feel more valued and increases engagement. When you encourage employee suggestions, you encourage innovation and creativity, which will help your business grow. Happy, engaged employees are the pillars holding up a company, while a democratic leader is their foundation, strengthening them to stand high and support the business through their tasks.
Remember, the leader is still in charge. Without a foundation, the pillars would topple. Leaders can and should demand respect from their employees and maintain their authority. Acting democratically doesn’t mean you give up being in charge; it means leaving your ears open and giving others the chance to grow and better the company by offering their insight.
2. Learn the Subtle Needs of Each Employee
Every employee varies from the other. Everyone has different needs, desires, personalities, and values that drive them. Pay attention to your employees’ strengths and weaknesses and place them where they’ll perform best. Also, know how to communicate with them. Some employees need daily check-ins and reassurance, while others work best with little supervision and praise.
3. Don’t Demand Too Much and Set Realistic Goals
Sometimes, it’s inevitable your employees will work overtime or miss a weekend when deadlines approach. But it’s crucial you don’t demand too much from workers. If your employees are burned out, they won’t be useful. Their performance will steadily decline.
Human beings are not meant to work 24/7. Employees need breaks. They need time to breathe. Make sure you’re not heaping unrealistic expectations on your employees that keep them overworked and—inevitably—unproductive.
4. Admit When You Make Mistakes
Being “in charge” can overinflate your ego, but all leaders are fallible human beings capable of making mistakes. I get frustrated when I see managers with a god complex who think they’re right all the time. Because guess what? They’re not, and neither are you. You won’t garner respect from your employees by pretending you’re perfect. If you make a mistake, admit it and humble yourself, thus giving employees another reason to respect you.
5. Show Appreciation to Employees
Part of being a leader is helping your employees feel fulfilled in their position. One great way to do this is by recognizing their value and showing them appreciation. Thank employees when they work their hardest and congratulate them for their successes. Always be ready to say “good job” or “great work.”
Concluding Thoughts About Leadership
Being a good leader in an employee’s eyes is not about appearing perfect or acting like a dictator. Employees need someone who understands and cares about their needs while still maintaining authority. Are you someone who can lead that way? If not, book a call with career expert Robert Braathe today for advice!