Have you ever heard the phrase, “people quit bosses, not companies”? Variations of it are quite prevalent on LinkedIn.
When things aren’t going well at the top, a trickle effect brings down morale, making some working conditions unbearable. Not to sound grim, but this is a harsh lesson for anyone in a leadership role to heed if they want to avoid bringing down their organization.
Whether it’s a small team leadership situation or a C-level executive, you should always strive to bring out the best in your team members.
Low morale starts when employees become jaded against upper management. They start to feel the only benefit to showing up for work is to not get fired. They don’t feel supported, encouraged or motivated when it comes to daily roadblocks. There are no incentives and the company culture is majorly lacking.
Depending on the industry, great management is certainly subjective. Different companies require different needs from the employees, but the general idea when it comes to leadership is overcoming the challenges associated with communicating and connecting with team members.
Here are 5 team leadership tips that will encourage your employees to stick around:
There is such a fine line between a hands-on and hands-off approach to where your team members feel comfortable enough to function on their own. Keeping a close eye on your team to help you monitor their performance does way more harm than good.
It’s OK to give people the space they need to learn and grow, and if and when they make a mistake, that’s sometimes the best way to learn, as long as no irreparable damage has been done.
Giving your employees space is healthy. Let them come to you when they need something. A responsible team member will always be conscientious enough to seek assistance and ask questions, and it makes it easier to weed out the ones who aren’t as invested in their jobs.
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If you recognize that you’re a micromanager, you need to take a step back and see where you’re going wrong. Are you insisting on approving every newsletter template before it gets sent out? Are you wanting to be CC’ed on every email? Are you holding your team up because you’re insisting on being so involved in everything they do?
When it comes down to it, you hired these people for many reasons and one of those reasons is trust. You need to trust that they’re going to perform their jobs well. If they don’t, that’s what reviews are for.
Make sure your employees are satisfied
It’s so obvious when you walk into a business and the energy is light and fun and the company seems to be functioning like a well-oiled machine. That’s a sign of a happy and satisfied staff.
On the other hand, dissatisfied employees will flounder in their tasks and walk in with bad attitudes from the get-go of the work day. Unhappy workers tend to bring productivity and morale of the entire workspace down. It’s amazing how, in my experience, negative energy tends to disrupt the workflow, making it almost impossible to recover if upper management does nothing to address the problem. The result is a high turnover because nothing ever changes.
You don’t want your team members to become bitter and jaded, or worse, leave you in a bind. Start by pulling them aside and talking to them directly about what’s bothering them and assure them you will listen and try to improve whatever it is that’s impeding their ability to get the job done. Don’t be surprised if you are the problem.
Other possible factors could be they don’t like their current job ranking, another employee is getting in their way or even something outside of work.
Just make sure you have all the information you need before you react to something. That’s the first step to turning things around.
Encourage team collaboration
Just because you work together doesn’t mean you have to be best friends, or even like each other, but you need to hold a certain amount of respect for your team members.
A team that practices open communication, interacts professionally and supports each other in achieving their goals will yield the best collaborations.
It’s up to the leader to encourage the following practices:
- Let certain people on the team have ownership of different projects and tasks
- Let the team have a shared goal
- Encourage the team to take risks without the threat of job loss if something goes wrong.
- Give the team opportunities to share ideas
Set mini milestones
People like structure. Having an end goal in mind when coming to work not only helps the day move faster, but it gives employees a chance to see the results of their hard work.
Whether it happens over one day or a couple of months, a leader should direct their team toward setting achievable and challenging goals. This way, there’s an objective in mind and a finish line. Some people thrive on seeing the outcome of what their expertise potential can do, creating a somewhat tangible way of measuring their performance.
Emphasize their best skills
Allocating assignments and knowing how best to hone each team member’s strengths is the epitome of efficient leadership. Your team will appreciate you for recognizing their skills and therefore, feel like they’re contributing to something. They feel like you’re putting the well-being of the company on their shoulders. They feel trusted and empowered.
The sign of a great manager is how well they delegate. It’s not just about assigning tasks here and there; it’s seeing the potential from one person to the other. Who can handle creating the best ad in the least amount of time? Who can figure out how to code in the new CMS?
This will certainly increase the morale of your team. It’ll keep things running more smoothly by default and will motivate team members to want to hone their talents and feel rewarded by doing it.
At the end of the day, being a leader isn’t easy. You always have a lot of balls in the air trying to make sure your small business doesn’t sink and your team members don’t go down with the ship. It’s certainly a juggling act, no question. But being a leader who inspires and observes from 50 feet up rather than holding everyone’s hand will see a flourishing business, a satisfied staff and happy clients. It’ll be a win-win for all involved.