Not knowing anything about your employees can create a distance that will make it hard for you to relate with your team. You don’t have to go out for drinks after work on a weekly basis, but you can at least know a few things about them—their hobbies, their families, what part of town they live in, etc. The point is, you should know something about them besides their job duties. If you do so, their loyalty will be much greater than if you never bother to get to know them at all.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and spreading good feelings around just makes good business sense. Workers who never earn recognition for what they do suffer from lower morale than those who receive praise on a consistent basis. Take a minute during your meetings to express your gratitude for your team’s hard work. Thank them for their dedication and work ethic.
Good leaders not only help their team members see where they could improve, they actually help them do it. Observe your workers and see where their gaps of knowledge are. Ask workers themselves about their weaknesses. Then think of ways to fill those gaps, such as holding training sessions on certain maintenance or safety procedures.
This tip combines ideas from No. 3 and No. 4: Workers can’t improve if they don’t know what parts of their work need improvement. Enter the handy performance review. Every so often, meet with your technicians to go over their performance. Discuss what they’ve done well and what you’d like to see from them going forward. Performance reviews are also a good time to get their feedback on how you’re doing as a manager.
Delegating kills two birds with one stone. Dividing tasks among your team lets you attend to other matters that demand your attention. It also gives your team increased responsibility, letting them grow their individual skill sets and develop professionally. Be sure to not overload your workers with something they’re not ready for, however. Delegation must be done carefully, or else workers may feel discouraged or overwhelmed.
Poor leaders are ones who don’t consider what their employees tell them. Bad bosses may pretend to process their workers’ input, but they either overcome their objections or gloss over the issue. To be a good leader, it’s important to give your employees’ opinions plenty of weight. If you don’t bother to listen or be open to your employees’ ideas, they won’t trust or respect you as a leader. And that’s not good for anyone involved.
Another sign of a bad leader? Never acknowledging when the things that go wrong are your fault. Maybe you overscheduled the team. Or maybe you failed to delegate well. Whatever mistakes you make, own up to them and apologize. Your team will recognize your integrity and appreciate you the more for it.
Leadership is an important skill, but it can be difficult to master. Use these seven techniques, and you’ll achieve the right mix of mentor, boss and ally for your team.
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