My gosh, I’ve seen it all and heard it all. I’ve also recognized years of my own strengths and weaknesses and have used that knowledge to learn and grow every day. I often challenge myself to think about what kind of leader I am as I interact with people. I believe this is a question many CEO’s, Business Owners and Managers must ask themselves continuously.
So, what kind of leader are you? Do you build people up, helping them to see their strengths and potential? Or do your actions show them that you’re more concerned about self-serving interests and the bottom line.
A few things that business leaders need to always be cognizant of. Recognizing your employees’ accomplishments costs your business nothing, but it can yield big dividends. While financial incentives are helpful, demonstrating simple respect and appreciation can be a far more powerful way to keep good employees in the game and on the field.
# 1- Help employees find a sense of meaning in their work. Everyone needs to feel that their work matters and that their valued for the work that they do.
Your support as a leader triggers a chain reaction that can enable good employees to rise to greatness. They sense it when you believe in them. It builds their motivation and self-confidence. It boosts their drive to produce and succeed, for both themselves and the company.
Building up your employees isn’t as simple as it sounds, though. In fact, for some it’s one of the biggest management challenges there is.
It comes easily for some managers. They’re born people builders, with enough charisma and optimism to attract friends and inspire loyalty. These people-magnets encourage their associates by recognizing what’s good about them and what they do, rather than fixating on their weaknesses.
# 2- Encourage autonomy and flexibility.
Others have to work at it, though, and train themselves in communication skills that help them convey that same positive message.
Either way, the key is sincerity. To be taken to heart by an employee, your individual encouragement must be based on a genuine understanding of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, their business beliefs and personalities, and their similarities and differences. Yes, this takes effort, but imagine the potential return on your investment.
# 3- Build your own personal resilience.
People-building doesn’t mean ignoring unacceptable behavior. But effective leaders understand that they should praise their employees about 8 to 10 times more than they criticize them. This is not an arbitrary statistic; but research by the U.S. Army confirms that in order to accept and grow from criticism people need eight praises for every constructive criticism. It’s all about finding the right balance of praise and criticism for the individuals you supervise and or manage.
When it’s necessary to point out errors or suggest improvements, just be sure to phrase the feedback constructively to prevent defensiveness. A secret in giving feedback is always asking permission to give it. Employees will probably be more open to feedback because they’ve been given some control of the dialog.
# 4- Help employees manage change.
By re-framing critical feedback as constructive educational points, managers can translate a potential negative reaction into a positive one. The employee’s motivation, trust, and emotional engagement remain intact, and he or she is able to focus more on the message you’re trying to send.
In the end, it’s a balancing act to deliver the right mix of praise and constructive criticism, but it’s the best way for a manager to build people and build the bottom line at the same time.
What are your thoughts?
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Steven Cohen, Principal of GreenMark Consulting Group is a business management and operations consultant, mentor and coach with more than twenty-five years of landscape/snow industry experience. Steven has an extensive background in managing cross-functional business operations, business strategy and market growth projects. He prides himself as being both an analytical and a conceptual thinker who effectively partners with business owners to assess opportunities, facilitate strategic decisions, and drive successful implementations. GreenMark Consulting Group specializes in helping growth-oriented companies see through challenges and map out operational and growth strategies.