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How Do You Lead?

A huge part leading a successful business is leadership. Leading is not exactly an easy task either. Everyone is different and each of us responds to things differently. As leaders, we have a responsibility to steer the entire organization in the direction we want to go. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your team.

Recognize hard work – This is something that many leaders forget about. Even though everyone is different, we all like to have our hard work recognized. It doesn’t have to anything unnatural or forced, most of the time a simple “good job Jim!” is enough to increase an employee’s morale.

Have an open door – Of course there are times when you just have to close the door for meetings or certain discussions, but in between those times an open door makes employees feel welcome. It may not seem like much when the door is open; chances are your employees will feel more comfortable in the work environment. It also invites your employees to drop in for a quick question or chat without feeling like they shouldn’t or that they are interrupting you.

Be friendly – Some people take this a little too far, but it is important to connect with your employees. Take an interest in their lives and their happiness. We all know work can sometimes be the number one stress factor in someone’s life so being able to know your employees can help you spot the warning signs that they may be about to burn out. This is not only good for the employee, but it can also let you know when things may be getting a little too hectic around the office. Aside from that, forming a friendly connection with you employees makes them not dread coming in to work in the morning. They are much more likely to enjoy coming to work and it makes the entire environment that much more engaging and inviting. I said earlier that some people take this too far. You have to make sure that you keep a good balance. Everyone still needs to be able to realize that you are in a leadership position.

Be firm but fair – Every now and then things don’t always go the way we had planned. Sometimes it’s inevitable, and other times it’s easy to place the blame. These situations are tricky because you have to let whoever made a mistake, know that they did in fact, make a mistake. There are many ways to handle this and there is no real ‘correct’ way to do so. Whichever approach you choose, just remember to be fair. Too harsh penalties will decrease employee morale, and too lenient may result in out of hand employees in the future. There will always be a time when letting an employee go is the right choice, and there are cases when a simple talk will do the trick. The best way to handle these scenarios is to take a step back and analyze the situation in a wider perspective and maybe even talk it over with a co-leader before meeting with the employee in question.

Keep employees in the know – There will always be trade secrets that you don’t want out, every business has them. But some general information can be shared with employees on occasion. Some employees may not care, but for others, it is nice to know how their work affects the company and how they bring value to the table. It also helps you keep your employees engaged in the business.

Destroy the ‘employee’ barrier – I’ve been using the word employee a lot and the truth is that isn’t the best word. Employee sounds like they are under you. In the corporate structure chart on a piece of paper, that may be true, but in the office we are all people with a common goal. Replacing employees with team is a not only a great, but also a simple way to make everyone in the office feel more connected and welcome.

There is no real set leadership strategy that will ever be entirely universal. But one thing will always be true, happy employees are productive employees. Happy employees take care with their assignments and projects and have more pride in their work. Aside from the actual work itself, happy employees create a happy atmosphere and who doesn’t like working in a happy place? At Palm Beach Software, we take great pride in treating our team right. Our inviting and cheerful office creates a great environment to make sure our clients get the highest quality product we can deliver.

Comments

Mike Griffin

Great article Mark. To your first point, I've witnessed and experienced how a simple "good job" can make a person feel great about what they do. You wrapped everything up with what I think captures the bottom line (no pun intended); we all invest a large portion of our time into what we do for a living. When the folks that sign the pay checks treat everyone with respect and like a person, an employee will put all they have into aligning their goals with the goals of the company.

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