Being a part of your organization is the best thing ever. It’s a fun, growth-oriented workplace with plenty of incentives and benefits to keep the entire team happy.
…Or is it?
Many leaders assume they’re adequately engaging their employees and have their finger on the pulse of their company but haven’t stopped to dig deeper into the issue.
Is Jane doing well in HR? Is Hank stressed out? Has the new hire Jessica been onboarded properly?
Well, you won’t really know until you start asking some of the big questions, such as:
What’s it like to be your employee?
Are You Holed Up in Your Ivory Tower?
One of the highest value activities in any business is thinking. There are a variety of different types of thinking, be it critical thinking, design thinking, or strategic thinking, but bottom line, thinking leaders tend to be more effective. Also explore Lolly Daskal’s 7 Ways Great Leaders Think Differently Than Everyone Else.
The point, though, is it’s easy to assume you have more important things to do with your time than interact with your team. Let the managers report to you. The bottom-line figures tell all. All you need are the numbers to know what’s going on in your business.
What the numbers sometimes don’t tell, though, are that Jane recently went through a painful breakup, Hank’s mother passed away, and nobody’s been helping Jessica get onboarded for three weeks!
Sound horrifying? Well, you won’t know holed up in your ivory tower. Though you don’t need to interact with your employees all the time, and you do need to keep it professional, it can’t hurt to “catch them doing something right” every now and again.
Checking up on sales is essential. But you might be surprised what could come up in a “health” check.
What Are You Expecting of Your Employees?
For you, working 12-hour days six days per week might be the norm. It might even be what has you jumping out of bed with excitement every morning.
“What’s the big deal? You’ve got to have a strong mindset to succeed!”
Right. Except. If you’re expecting your employees to follow your example, you may be surprised to find that not only do they feel like you’re a slave driver, but they might also be struggling to find needed time to rest, sleep, spend time with their families, and so on.
Of course, the complete opposite could be true. Maybe your workplace is a little too slack. Maybe there’s a lot of resource bloat in the business, and everyone knows James should have been fired like yesterday already.
Either way, expectations need to be set. Many people come to work not to take it home, but to leave it there. Only a rare few are looking for additional growth opportunities. Knowing the who’s who of the team is going to lead to better strategy and resource management in the organization.
Good leaders assume nothing. They talk to their people. They empathize with their problems and difficulties, even if they seem insignificant. They know who is out to prove themselves, who needs to be moved to a different department, and who needs to be laid off.
If you truly want to be a great leader, be willing to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes in managing your team.