Words of Wilson will teach you each month to better understand, develop and manage your most valuable resource – your people.
I am asked regularly by owners, “Am I doing the right things for my company?” While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, there are seven simple things you can do to have a positive impact on your workplace.
1. Be accessible.
Set aside quality time for direct reports on a regular basis. Use the time to mentor, motivate, boost morale and make sure you are on the same page with goals and expectations. Employees find great value in time with you. It’s both empowering and a learning opportunity, so do it consistently.
2. Be the voice of your company’s mission.
Employees look to owners for clarity of purpose. Simply put, let them know what is important to you, what you expect from your team and why. Back up your words with actions and put your money where your mouth is. Employees want to work for companies where the boss invests in them professionally, and where they can grow their skills through training and flourish.
3. Be the pulse-taker.
The best way to gauge your company’s vital signs is to stay on top of how employees feel. One-on-one meetings help with this. Ask your employees if they feel your company cares or if they are given opportunities to grow. Successful companies institutionalize their search for and commitment to talent; the key is understanding what talent attributes you need and building your business around a diverse group who embody them.
4. Be connected.
Find an effective way to communicate and inspire interaction with people on your team. Share updates and progress, celebrate wins and acknowledge losses. Allow for an exchange of ideas and opportunities for collaboration. Call employees by their first names; learn what’s on their plate and what makes them tick.
5. Be the standard bearer.
Good ownership requires reinforcement of company standards. Owners need to remind everyone what they expect in the way of deliverables. Standards of behavior and quality can slip if the owner doesn’t lead with the message or by example. When reinforcing the standards do not forget context. Employees are more likely to live up to and perform at higher standards if they know why it impacts the outcome.
6. Be the compass and the rudder.
Set direction, make the growth strategy clear and maintain a steady course. When times are tough, keep employees focused on the big picture and bring them into the conversation. If your company is struggling to hire, if there are fluctuations in accounts or if employees are stressed, be a realistic cheerleader. It’s a leader’s role to remind them that the problems will work themselves out. Providing timely guidance and a personal touch when it’s needed most will always be relevant.
7. Be a co-pilot.
The best leaders know they can’t fly solo. Develop a team of wingmen or advisors, join a peer group or seek counsel from an informal group of outside directors. Communal inspiration comes in a number of forms. Learning from other CEOs and owners who share similar challenges and having a sounding board to test ideas for growth is an empowering way to feel less lonely at the top.