Leaders worth their salt are those who inspire others to be great.
Whether you’re a sales manager or a CEO, bringing out the best in people you work with is key to the success of your organization.
A study by Dale Carnegie Training revealed that nearly 75% of employees are disengaged at work, and one of the leading factors stated in the study is issues with management. They don’t feel like management is doing its job of giving them support and helping them eliminate hurdles.
Of course, great management is largely context-dependent; but for all leaders, communicating and connecting with your subordinates is often a huge part of the challenge.
Here are 5 ways to lead better and inspire your team.
Let them work
Micromanagement. Now that’s something a lot of managers struggle with. You might even think of yourself as a “perfectionist” or just saying you like keeping a close eye on your team to ensure they’re doing well. In reality, it does more harm than good.
Inspire your team to be at their best by breaking your micromanagement habits. You need to give people the space to learn and succeed. At the same time, your expertise is often needed elsewhere.
The question now is this: How do you step back?
First of all, accept that you have a micromanaging problem. For the sake of your team’s well-being and morale, you have to cut it out. Start by eliminating smaller scattered practices like asking to be CC’ed in all emails or requiring them to ask for your permission before each step.
“Micromanaging dents your team’s morale by establishing a tone of mistrust—and it limits your team’s capacity to grow,” says Karen Dillon, author of the HBR Guide to Office Politics. “If your mind is filled with the micro-level details of a number of jobs, there’s no room for big picture thoughts,” she says.
Your team may have a couple of areas for improvement, but they will perform and grow better with less interference. Trust them more and be there when they need support.
Identify and address dissatisfaction issues
Great managers are aware that productive employees are those who are satisfied and happy.
Identifying unsatisfied employees is a tough task since the signs are often subtle. However, there are common indicators that could help you address these issues right away. If they’re underperforming and resistant to coaching, you might have something that needs to be addressed immediately. Disgruntled members negatively affect productivity and morale of the whole team.
Do not assume that you know the reason behind their dissatisfaction. Always assess, not assume. Talking directly to the individual is the best way to go about this.
Also, do research by looking into their work history, productivity over a period, and feedback from other team members. Be open to the possibility that you could be the source. Other possible factors are their current job status, another team member, or something totally unrelated to their time at work.
Gather as much information before deciding how to act. Use this opportunity to show them they’re much more than an employee on file.
Encourage team collaboration
How a team converses and works determines the success they will have. If there’s no open communication and respect, there won’t be any collaboration.
What a team produces is a direct result of how well they communicate, interact, and enable each other to get after their goals. Collaboration is the engine of a team.
What can you do to foster team collaboration?
As a leader, consider these tips:
- Give ownership of projects and tasks to specific people in the team
- This allows people to lead on their own and find ways to deliver.
- Create shared goals, promote joint efforts
- Promote collaboration and avoid projects that lock people in a situation where they have to work in their silos.
- Communicate that mistakes are okay.
- Ensure that the team is willing to take chances and they won’t be left out to dry if they fail. Taking risks is great, and learning from the ones that don’t pan out are fantastic learning experiences.
- Create structured time for idea-sharing.
- Set aside weekly time just to talk about new ideas and thoughts about how the team and its members are doing.
Better performance comes with better collaboration. Test these techniques and see your team produce great results.
Challenge the team through specific, measurable goals
Professor Edwin A. Locke of the University of Maryland was one of the pioneers of identifying the link between goal-setting and employee performance. Locke found that people are more productive when they have clearly outlined goals and specific feedback.
Locke’s theory is still widely used in the field of Human Resources and Management, making goal-setting and task motivation an integral part of running teams.
As a leader, you need to direct your team toward creating specific, realistic goals that are challenging at the same time.. This affects your team’s performance in a positive way compared to setting ambiguous objectives. They know what to measure their performance against, and they know how to adjust the team in order to meet these goals.
For example, if you’re working in sales, set goals that indicate hard numbers like “increase sales by 8% within three months”, and not something like “acquire new customers”.
Have them focus on what they do best
Delegation is the key to leveraging everyone’s skills and multiplying the team’s value. When you delegate, you go from being concerned with what you can personally do, to being focused on what you can bring out of the team.
Delegation is one of those prized skills that great managers have. It’s not simply giving tasks; it’s recognizing expertise and potential when you see it and making the most out of them
Assign tasks with the strengths of your team members in mind. You will see results and see that team satisfaction will rise. A happier team consists of people doing what they’re good at, as they are able to contribute at their highest level
Leadership may be a tall task, but it is very rewarding. You could help people do better while reaching goals for your organization as well. Try these techniques and see what more your team can do.
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