Answer: Leaders who empower, educate, encourage, and engage their teams!
Leaders are focusing too much on the day-to-day tasks and not spending enough time empowering, encouraging and engaging with their team. Team’s need to know whats happening within the organization and no, a blanket email blast isn’t enough. The team needs to hear the good, bad, and ugly directly from their leader and how it directly affects them.
To value each team member’s voice, leaders need to provide a safe and confidential forum for them to share their thoughts, opinions, and ideas. This can be accomplished through regular 1 on 1 meetings. Teams want their leader to encourage them, help them set stretch goals, and to use their strengths to contribute to meeting strategic goals and objectives.
I’m a huge fan of Gallup’s engagement surveys. Their recent survey reflects data that managers are the reason for the lack of movement on increasing global employee engagement.
If you want to learn more, click on the link to get the entire report. It’s a good reminder of the old adage: people usually don’t leave companies; they leave because of their manager.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia
So to boost those bottom line results, apply these simple concepts which cost nothing to institute yet the return on investment is priceless.
- Listen: Leaders are filled with ideas and it’s in our nature to want to share those ideas with others but great leaders over time must learn to talk less and listen more. We need to ask questions to deepen understanding and ensure our ratio of talking to listening is 2 to 1. Good leaders also listen to what their customers’ want and need, they listen to colleagues, their shareholders, and they are open to new ideas.“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill
- Tell Stories. They captivate your audience and drive people to take action. Share stories that are relevant and ignites the team or customers to get inline with your ideas and vision. Stories demonstrate your connection to what your stakeholders are looking for – they empower and inspire.“The telling of stories demonstrates your understanding.” – Alberto Miguel
- Be Authentic. Great leaders have integrity, are humble, positive, are willing to be vulnerable and are “real.” Leaders need to be true to themselves by embracing their strengths and managing around their weaknesses. “When you are authentic, you create a certain energy, people want to be around you because you are unique.” – Andie MacDowell
- Be Transparent. Open and honest communication, actions, and behavior leads to happier stakeholders. Tell the truth and don’t spin the message; you’ll have followers who will align their talents behind yourself and the organization. “When you’re building a business or joining a company, you have to be transparent; you can’t have two sets of information for two sets of people.” – Howard Schultz
- Collaborate. No matter how small an organization is we interact with others everyday. Use the strengths of other team members to support your team’s goals and objectives. Ask for their thoughts and support for your ideas and they will ask for yours. Bonus: developing cross-departmental relationships can lead to strengthening your innovative out-of-the-box ideas. “As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler
- Be adaptable. There has never been a faster changing market then today. News flash – it isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. We need to be flexible in managing opportunities and challenges and nimble enough to turn at the right moment. We need to know how to be both a change advocate and change agent. “We need dynamic and thriving businesses and a skilled and adaptable labor force to produce competitiveness and prosperity.” – David Blunkett
- Keep is simple. Teammates and stakeholders will respond more quickly by taking complex projects, challenges, and ideas and distilling them to their simplest components. “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs
- Be responsive. Under promise and over deliver with everything you agree to do. You’ll quickly get a reputation for being responsive and reliable. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles Swindoll
- Demonstrate passion. Passion is contagious to everyone around you. Those who love what they do don’t have to work a day in their lives. Finding and increasing your passion will absolutely affect the organizations’ bottom line! “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou
- Encourage. Focus on what your team is doing right and make them aware both individually and as a group. Encourage them to find ways to improve processes, to grow professionally, and to encourage each other. “I like to encourage people to realize that any action is a good action if it’s proactive and there is positive intent behind it.” – Michael J. Fox
- Be grateful. Always be appreciative – say thank you to all stakeholders sincerely and specifically. Gratitude helps us to remain focused on the positives and it helps us to feel good about ourselves. “A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.” – James E. Faust
- Always follow the modified Golden Rule; treat others as they’d like to be treated. Get to know your team as people not employees. Remember their birthdays (if they celebrate them), get to know what they like to do, what are their kids names, where do they see them selves in one to five years, and know how do they like to receive praise and feedforward? “We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life.” – Edwin Markham
Process check…Are you thinking these 12 concepts are “touchy feely” stuff? Well, get over it! Studies have shown that we’re hard wired for human connection and contribution. If we don’t get it we’ll find it somewhere else.
We’re not robots, why would we treat our teammates as such? Don’t hear that I don’t think a targeted focus on bottom line results isn’t important, it is; we just need to move the needle to focus more on our team rather than myopically on the bottom line.
Remember, the team is performing the daily work, so they are the drivers of the bottom line.