For any leader or person in a leadership position, they most likely have come to the realization that people are their greatest asset. Leaders know that without having the support of good people, nothing could ever get accomplished. No leader has superpowers nor can they accomplish a team’s effort on their own. Great leaders understand the importance of people which is why they will often employ these 5 tactics to protect and uphold their greatest asset.
Develop Your People
A good leader is going to spend time helping to develop and improve the people that work for him or her. This not only includes coaching and teaching, but it also includes listening to them and helping them reach to reach their own goals. When you invest time in your people they will invest time in you and the team’s mission.
“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” – Harvey S. Firestone
In my personal role as a leader in the workplace, I’ve yet to deny anyone’s request for additional training or educational endeavors. I personally feel that if an employee wants to learn something new, even if it’s not entirely within their job description, I will support their aspirations. I’ve signed off on people attending out-of-state conferences and seminars that put us over budget for the year because continuous learning and improvement is so important to me. Leaders understand the value of developing people and enabling them to learn and grow.
Take Care of Your People
Showing that you care about the people around you and your employees is a great way to show that they are valued within the team and organization. Show your people that you care about them on a daily basis by taking action. Go to their office to see them personally and tell them that they are doing a great job. Take the time to ask how they are doing and if they need any help. Let them know that you’re always there to support them if they need it and that your door is always open.
In Ken Blanchard’s book, the One Minute Manager (affiliate link), a beautiful explanation of this topic is discussed in great detail. Some leaders or bosses are concerned with results and others are concerned about their people. The best leaders are concerned about both. These perspectives go hand in hand. You can’t have good results unless your people are well taken care off.
In addition to work related discussions, take an interest in your employee’s personal lives. Ask them questions to try and understand their perspectives, motivations, and personal aspirations. Ask about their children or their families and show that you would rather talk about them than yourself. Caring for your employees and caring for others can sometimes be a challenging task in a society that always puts “me” first. However, the change and improvements resulting from caring for others is far beyond anything that you could ask for.
Praise Your People
It’s very important to constantly praise your employees for a job well done. Even if they are performing poorly, find something positive to focus on (while still offering meaningful feedback to promote improvement of course). Positive reinforcement will always produce better results than negative reinforcement ever well. People desire to be praised and they crave being told that they are doing a great job. In addition, people want to feel important.
When giving praise it’s extremely important to be genuine with everything that you say. Never fib or tell a “white lie” or eventually your trustworthiness as a leader will come into question. Praise should be offered as a way to make people feel good about themselves while also promoting or reinforcing those positive and desirable behaviors. In addition, when giving praise it should be a specific so that it has more meaning to the individual who is receiving it.
Serve Your People
On many occasions I have written about the subject of becoming a servant leader. I strongly believe that putting others before yourself is a integral part of being a true leader. Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last (available on Amazon here – affiliate link), discusses this idea throughout his book.
“The cost of leadership is self interest.” – Simon Sinek
When you sacrifice for those that follow you, this act of selflessness strengthens the bonds of friendship and camaraderie. When your team trusts you and knows that you’ll do anything for them, they will come to the table and deliver results like you could have never imagined. By serving others, you show just how important those people are to you.
Stand Up For Your People
Another thing that great leaders do is to stand up for their people. It’s important to “go to bat” for them when they are trying to promote a positive change within the organization or when they are stepping outside of their comfort zone such as to give a presentation to the executive team. Leaders will offer support and step in to help if an employee is becoming overwhelmed.
Leaders will also step in to protect and defend their employees if outsiders try to bring negativity into the arena or if a customer or client is giving them trouble. When my employees are having a hard time with a difficult customer, I always offer to step in and help. I also have no trouble speaking with upper management on their behalf with regards to any issues or challenges they are having in the workplace.
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