How Good Leadership Makes all the Difference

Why do some companies have high turnover rates while other companies rarely need to backfill positions? It comes down to leadership: good leaders keep their best staff while bad leaders drive people away. When your employees feel valued and respect you as a leader, they’ll be more committed to producing great work than ever before. But what does good leadership look like in practice? Here are tips you can follow:

Get to Know the Little Things

Really get to know your employees and make them feel valued–but don’t blur the boundaries between personal and professional too far. No matter how much each party likes and respects each other, there will always be a power imbalance that can make your employees feel uncomfortable saying how they truly feel. The good news is that your employees don’t need you to be their best friend; they want to feel confident that you value and care about them as a person. The larger your company grows, the more important it is for your employees to feel like they’re not interchangeable strangers in your mind. Take the time to smile and say hello to every person you pass in the building; to you, it might not seem like a big deal–but it makes your employees feel like they matter.

One on Ones

Hold quarterly one on ones with your direct reports (adjust the frequency depending on your schedule and the number of direct reports you have) so you can work on long-term plans and goals. Don’t wait until a scheduled one-on-one to tackle problems or challenges–engaged, active leaders will already know about these issues and address them as they happen. Instead, use this meeting to plan, set new goals, and discuss opportunities for enhancing your employee’s strengths. In short, look forward, not backward.

Just Add Food

If you’re the head of a large department, hold regular open office hours–and serve coffee and pastries as an incentive to overcome people’s reluctance and shyness to attend. Clarify that you want to hear from them, and people will take advantage of the opportunity. You can also host lunch and learning sessions where people from diverse departments can mingle as they learn more about key areas of the business. The food will help overcome people’s natural reluctance to step outside of their comfort zones.

It’s All About the People

Create a team that feels like a family by encouraging employee bonding activities. This has two benefits. First, your employees will feel happier in the workplace when they have confidantes, they feel connected to, which has proven to lead to higher work outputs. You’re more likely to find and keep great talent because they won’t want to leave. Believe me when I say the most important thing about your job, even more than the actual work you do, is the people you’re surrounded by. Friendly, supportive coworkers are a key ingredient for keeping employees feeling satisfied and happy in the workplace. 

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