What good Leaders do differently

We all know that job satisfaction often hinges on the quality of the relationships we have with our bosses. Yet in today’s rapidly evolving, 24/7 workplaces, it’s not always clear what managers should do to create the most satisfying work experiences and the happiest employees. 

How to be great Leaders

Manage individuals, not teams

When you’re under pressure, it’s easy to forget that employees are unique individuals, with varying interests, abilities, goals, and styles of learning so it’s important to customize your interactions with them. Ensure you understand what makes them tick. Be available and accessible for one-on-one conversations. Deliver lessons cued to individual developmental needs. And when it comes to promotion, look past rigid competency models and career ladders for growth opportunities tailored to the ambitions, talents, and capacities of each person.

Go big on meaning.

Most employees value jobs that let them contribute and make a difference, and many organizations now emphasize meaning and purpose in the hopes of fostering engagement. But this is also a manager’s responsibility. You’ve got to inspire them with a vision, set challenging goals and pump up their confidence so they believe they can actually win. Articulate a clear purpose that fires your team up, set expectations high, and convey to the group that you think they’re capable of do anything.

Don’t just talk… listen.

Employees tend to be happier when they feel free to contribute with new ideas and take initiative, and most managers claim they want people who do just that. So why doesn’t it happen more often? Usually the problem is that bosses promote their own views too strongly. The best leaders spend a great deal of time listening. They pose problems and challenges, then ask questions to enlist the entire team in generating solutions. They reward innovation and initiative, and encourage everyone in the group to do the same.

Be consistent. 

Who could be happy with a boss who does one thing one day and another thing the next? It’s hard to feel motivated when the bar is always shifting in unpredictable ways and you never know what to expect or how to get ahead. So be consistent in your management style, vision, expectations, feedback and openness to new ideas. If change becomes necessary, acknowledge it openly and quickly.

The common denominator of these tips is attentiveness. Pay close attention to your employees as individuals. Take that extra bit of time to build their confidence and articulate a vision; to provide constant, ongoing, high quality feedback; and to listen to their ideas. Ensure that your own messages are consistent. Is it hard work? Yes. But it’s worth it.