Lack of leadership is the key reason businesses fail. When there is not a clear mission, when the leader cannot unite his or her employees to rally around a common passion and goal, when employees do not feel engaged or a part of something larger than themselves, productivity wanes and turnover of key producers increases.
The solution can be found when leaders dedicate themselves to learning and practicing effective leadership strategies. If you want to build a team of engaged employees, you must develop effective employee leadership skills. People will not buy into your goals, dreams or passions until they have first bought into you as a qualified leader. People will not follow someone who has not taken the time to build a successful relationship with them, or whose skills and qualities aren’t worth their trust.
Five steps to more effective employee leadership
Develop a Clear Vision
Employees need a clearly defined mission. Clearly defined goals provide meaning and purpose to their work; they need to believe they are working for something worthwhile and greater than themselves. When employees are engaged and inspired by a clear purpose, they will create a real value in the marketplace by providing superior products and service to their customers.
This vision—and its clear communication to employees—is the basis of effective employee leadership, and it shows up in the increased growth and profitability of the company.
Enlarge Those Around You
To lead others, you must make it a priority to enlarge your employees. Competent leaders are modest about their own accomplishments, and instead put their focus on enlarging those around them by generously passing out praise and recognition for jobs well done. Every time you give people credit for doing something right, you give them the positive reinforcement and confidence they need to perform at a higher level.
Give ample encouragement; everyone needs encouragement. Encouragement will empower people to try harder, give them energy, and help them to reach their potential. Everybody can be somebody when they know someone believes in them. The simple act of telling someone, “I believe in you,” enlarges and empowers them. To help people win as individuals, encourage them to establish goals, give them the necessary coaching so they can successfully complete goals and experience success in small steps. Success will make them feel good about themselves and show them who they can become.
Leaders can enlarge others simply by giving people personal attention. Show someone you care about them by taking an interest in their life story; make them feel special about themselves. Don’t be afraid to tell people how valuable they are to your organization. Let them know often how much of a difference they are making and how much you appreciate their work and loyalty. By making this a daily practice in your life, you will be nourishing the relationships essential to your success as an effective leader.
Relationships are about more than just offering kind words and listening to people’s needs. Enduring relationships require trust.
Trust is the glue that holds everything together in business. Employees must trust their leaders. Customers must have trust in the products and the people who represent them. Investors and vendors must trust the management of the company. Trust is built by leading from your values, a good and just moral center that coveys your convictions and beliefs. Effective leaders do not talk about their values—they practice them. Leaders who exhibit strong character with consistent actions, honesty and loyalty, and who place their employees’ and company’s interests ahead of their own personal agenda, build trust.
Effective leaders let their actions speak. They practice their values, and surround themselves with people who share the same ethics. As a result, they build ethical companies that people trust.
Lead by Example
To lead employees effectively you must be visible and accessible. Leaders have to be seen working tirelessly toward common goals if they expect others to follow them. You cannot lead effectively by hiding behind a closed office door and never being seen. Your passions can only become infectious if you are accessible, actively communicating with others, and outwardly working at your passion. Being an effective leader is not about what you think or say but about enacting your values. Effective leaders will model their visions for their employees by their own actions. Utilize “management by wandering around,” as it describes how effective leaders use visibility to help them gain the trust of their employees.
Engage and Empower
In the natural course of developing employee leadership skills, you have to make the transition from I to we. Before you can empower people, you have to make this transition. Leading is not about you; it’s not about controlling everything, accomplishing individual goals, or about personal success or recognition.
Successful leaders understand that in order to unite people toward common goals, you must give people an opportunity to be heard. Lead discussions with plenty of questions and attentive listening. Allow people to act on their ideas, establish goals, and make decisions how to best accomplish their goals. If you are currently not allowing people to share their ideas and empowering them to turn their ideas into reality, you are not giving them an opportunity to learn and grow; You must give your power away to unite your employees to passionately work toward shared goals and dreams.
Action Points To Start Today…..
Make a list of steps to improve your employee leadership skills and watch your employees become engaged in the company’s mission. Check out the following actions points:
1) It is important to engage key employees in the developmental and decision making process. Listen to their input. From the input, design annual target goals for the company. Clearly communicate the final mission to all of the employees.
2) Enlarge your employees with encouragement and praise.
3) Build trust be doing what you say. Model a high standard of business ethics.
4) Model working tirelessly toward the company mission.
5) Empower employees to take action to achieve their goals. Give them the decision making power to discover their own best way.
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