Whether you’re managing a local business or a large firm, being a manager can be both rewarding and challenging at the same time.  The demands of the workplace can pile up quickly, whether it’s meeting your goals for the fiscal quarter, focusing on your latest marketing campaign, or trying to acquire new clients.  However, in the midst of all of this, it can be easy to forget your most important asset: your team. Being a manager is one thing, but being a leader to your team is a completely different challenge altogether.  Not sure what that looks like for your workplace? Here are some ideas to consider trying out.

Manager vs. Leader

So what exactly is the difference between a manager and a leader?  Managers do just that: they manage their employees and their business.  A leader, however, takes that a step further by not only managing, but also demonstrating an authentic investment in their team’s well-being.  A leader takes the initiative to demonstrate the attitudes and ethics they wish to see in their employees. In short, a leader is someone who leads by example and is actively engaged with the inner workings of both their business and their team.  In their eyes, the two are equally important.

Demonstrate Trust in Your Employees

One of the most effective ways to boost morale in the workplace is by demonstrating to your employees that you trust them to do their jobs well.  A great way to do this is by allowing them to complete a task however they decide to accomplish it. Set clear expectations, tell them the end goal, give them the tools they need to succeed, and then take a step back and let them take the reins.  Doing so lets your employees feel like they have authority to complete a task using their unique skills and approach. It also allows their individual strengths to shine and promotes a healthy atmosphere of trust and respect. When they make a mistake (and mistakes will happen), use it as an opportunity to have a coaching moment with them and let them learn from it, rather than only telling them what they did wrong.

Create a Culture of Communication

Clear and regular communication cannot be emphasized enough.  If you are constantly only assigning goals and tasks, your employees may get them done, but their level of investment will wane over time if they don’t know the why behind their actions.  One way to solve this is by holding regular staff meetings. In these meetings, take the time to not only set new goals and communicate upcoming changes, but to also hear from your team. What obstacles are they running into consistently that you can help remove to improve productivity?  What ideas or questions do they have to share? You’ll find that your employees will become more engaged in their work, take pride in what they do, and contribute fresh and innovative ideas.

Check in With Your Employees

In addition to group meetings, it’s important to take the time to meet with members of your team individually.  This may seem impossible if you have a large amount of employees, but the meetings don’t have to be long or happen every week; they can be 15-30 minute meetings once a quarter, or you could work them into your regular performance reviews.  During these one-on-ones, ask them what areas of their performance they’d like to work on and how you can help them achieve their goals. This inspires your employees to think critically about their work ethic and what skills they’d like to improve.  It also serves to empower them, knowing that you’re invested in their growth and are committed to helping them succeed.

Consider an Employee Recognition Program

Create a system that allows your team’s accomplishments to be celebrated and acknowledged.  When your team meets a goal, take the time to share the news with everyone. This shows that you’re aware of how the goal was met: through the hard work of your employees.  You’re the one that led them to success, but they’re the ones that made it possible. Whether it’s an employee of the month award, surprising everyone by ordering lunch at the office, or simply acknowledging a specific person’s work ethic or contribution, you’ll notice a marked shift in your employees’ attitudes and motivation almost immediately.

Looking for more ideas or some advice on how to become a leader in your workplace?  Reach out to Neese Personnel today.  As a staffing leader in Oklahoma City, we’ve spent over 40 years helping business owners and leaders develop successful workplace strategies that allow their teams to thrive.  Give us a call today at 405-942-8551 to learn more about how we can help you.