It takes a lot to get to a leadership role, but it’s even more important to think carefully about what you should be doing once you’re there. In a nutshell, the answer is improve!
Leaders should always be seeking ways to keep improving their skills, learning, and growing. At the same time, they should always find new ways to improve employee engagement.
4 Ways to Improve in 2022
As we move further into 2022, let’s look at some ways you as a leader can improve your leadership and boost the employee experience:
1. Admit when you don’t know something.
Employees respect straight shooting on critical matters, so don’t be afraid to use those three magic words: “I don’t know.”
This is one of the best ways to show strength and competence because, in many scenarios, it’s true. No one can really know with certainty what financial markets will do, how public opinions or product trends will change, or what major events will happen in the world.
The other benefit is that when you do know something, you are much more credible as a source because it stands in contrast to when you’ve admitted what you didn’t know.
2. Be more transparent with team members.
Some leaders might think it’s important to keep “all business” when interacting with employees, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, employees respond well to personal sharing from leaders. This level of transparency makes their leaders feel more relatable and even vulnerable.
As Sheldon Yellen at BELFOR Property Restoration notes: “Remember that any touchpoint — an email, a phone call, or a handwritten note — can help boost a colleague’s morale by showing that you appreciate him or her. Wear a smile, preach positivity, and express your gratitude. In my opinion, ‘nice’ is the greatest four-letter word in the English language.”
3. Cultivate active listening skills.
Everyone wants to feel heard. Great leaders know this and make a point to practice active listening whenever they can with their employees. In the rush of business life, it’s all too easy to forget to do this, but don’t make that mistake.
So stop, take time, and listen. Understand what employees are communicating, and then respond appropriately and ask follow-up questions. A little of this can go a surprisingly long way. Not only can you learn more about the challenges your team members are facing, but it can also do wonders for employee morale.
4. Plant the seeds of hope.
Hope is fuel for effort and growth, and without it, employees lose steam. You should always encourage your team members to believe in a better future. It’s up to you to sketch out a vision for that future and keep it top of mind among your employees. Your goal is to have them share in that same promising vision.
This doesn’t mean you have to sugarcoat the current difficulties. It just means you have to continually and collectively keep your “eyes on the prize,” working toward a bright tomorrow. There are days you might not feel this yourself, but it’s important for you to develop the enthusiasm to transmit this hopeful vision.
By putting into practice these four principles, you can give yourself and your company every chance of making great strides in 2022. But don’t delay. Every month that you put off committing to this approach is one in which you could have built more momentum for your team.