Work cultures and their impact on a company’s bottom line is a hot business topic. An increasing number of Executives and HR leaders are recognising how an ecosystem of commonly held values, beliefs and positive work behaviours drives employee engagement, innovation and high performance.
However, culture doesn’t just ‘happen’. A positive and effective workplace culture takes visionary leadership that’s responsible for creating the right environment for motivated employees to thrive.
Within a high-performing workplace culture exists a series of selfless leaders who shine the spotlight on others instead of themselves. They all lead with one thing in mind: ‘How do I empower my team to reach their potential?’
Here are 5 ways exceptional leaders empower their team to build trust and ensures all employees reach their full potential.
1. Strong leaders listen authentically to their employees
Strong leaders regularly listen to their employees’ feedback to gain fresh insights and perspectives on improving the work environment. By making time for regular feedback, leaders relay the importance of their employees’ perspectives and this builds trust. Setting time aside to genuinely listen to employees sends the message that they are important and part of your success. It builds a level of respect and allows for open communication. What results is the retention of valued team members rather than a team of emotionally disconnected and frustrated individuals.
2. Strong leaders reward and recognise their employees
Reward and recognition shouldn’t be saved for the end of the month or the end of the quarter. Strong leaders understand the value of building personal relationships, delivering daily verbal acknowledgments and praise, or small tokens of appreciation. Recognise the team by ringing a bell, sending out a team email outlining their recent achievements or involve them in an upcoming project that will benefit their career development. As a leader, give recognition freely and learn to gracefully accept it in return as a cultural norm.
3. Strong leaders give their employees space to recharge
Leaders who truly care about their employees’ productivity levels will not tolerate a culture of overwork as it can lead to burn out. Strong leaders know the importance of work-life balance and how this safeguards their physical and mental health. To recharge, leaders can reinforce activities that can take as little as 5-15 minutes, including:
- Practicing mindful meditation
- Listening to music
- Infusing fun, laughter, and humour into the work community
- Going on a short walk outside
4. Strong leaders give their employees plenty of information, communicating the good and the bad
Strong leaders inform their employees when there are changes taking place. They keep their employees in the loop, telling them as much as they can, as soon as they can to avoid disengagement and low morale. Great leaders also give employees the pros and cons of a new strategy and don’t hold back to deliver unpleasant surprises later. When change results in low morale, strong leaders reassure their employees by giving them the facts and how these fit into the big picture. They never stop asking for input and how employees are feeling about things. When bad news arrives, they deliver it in a diplomatic and thoughtful way, choosing their timing and approach carefully.
5. Strong leaders treat employees fairly
In a recent Great Place to Work report showcasing 20 years of research on Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, a fairer workplace for all employees (not playing favourites or politicking, for example) was a key trend of past and current Best Companies. The exceptional leaders and managers at these companies share their power and even their status! They'll get down in the trenches and work alongside their tribe daily, making sure to connect with them on a personal level.
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