As a business leader, it isn’t enough to simply surround yourself with talent. You have to nurture that talent and ensure that it grows. But what are some of the things that make talent thrive?
One of the most essential factors is to foster a sense of belonging. It’s vital for employees to feel that they are part of a team and that there is purpose in their jobs. Work without purpose is just work, but work with purpose can be joy. When people know that what they do matters to others and can see how their work plays an integral part in what their organization does, it breeds satisfaction and ensures engagement and commitment.
Fostering this sense of belonging may turn out to be your most powerful tool. Used properly, it can bring your people together and encourage them to bond with one another for the common cause.
Find out what your people want
You know that everyone is different and has different wants, needs and desires. In order to get the most from your employees, you have to get to know them: that’s your part of the leadership bargain. Learn what drives and motivates them – and try to satisfy their various needs. You may learn that some need more guidance than others, while some work best when left alone. Knowing this can make you a more effective manager.
But how do you find out what each one wants? Easy: find the time to listen to them. Starting from day one, both through casual conversations and performance reviews, talk to them about their goals and discuss how their roles can eventually be better shaped to meet them.
Monitor but don’t micro-manage
When your team is working to achieve their objectives, you should of course keep tabs on how they’re progressing, but they won’t be motivated – or successful – if you’re always looking over their shoulder trying to supervise every detail, not offering them any decision-making freedom.
There’s a fine line between being interested in their progress and trying to do their jobs for them. Unless there’s an urgent deadline to be met, give them the freedom to work at their own pace. If they ask for help, be ready to offer it, but too much intrusion can lead to frustration and even stunted creativity.
Communicate with clarity
Employers and managers often assume everyone knows how to communicate (including themselves). But surprisingly often, this isn’t the case. Your employees can’t do their best work if you’re not communicating with them simply and clearly. For complex tasks, or ones where the outcome is particularly sensitive, none of your people should find themselves wondering how they fit into the process or what the specifics of their particular jobs are.
If you see an employee carrying out a task in a way you didn’t expect, ask yourself whether you were clear about your goals and objectives. Were the requirements well defined? How well did you engage your employees in the process? Is your lack of clarity the source of confusion? Perhaps it’s time for you to sharpen your communication skills!
Be a positive role model
To bring out the best in your people, you have to be a great leader. And to do that, you need to exhibit the kind of behavior that you would like your employees to emulate. By consistently demonstrating knowledge, honesty, ability and reliability, you’ll build confidence among your employees, and your rewards will be their trust and loyalty.
By being the kind of employer your people look up to and are proud of, they’re more likely to believe not only in your company, but in your personal cause and journey – and who could ask for a more gratifying result?
“When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.” – William Arthur Ward