Ever wonder what your employees think the perfect leader is?
Do you wonder if you are a good leader for your people?
You could directly ask them.
Of course, they could be brutally honest or lie just so they don’t get in trouble.
Unless you have good communication with your people, you may not want to ask them directly. You could have a third-party survey company perform an employee satisfaction review — this could give you an idea of what your employees are unhappy with.
If you want to be a good leader, just think to yourself and your past jobs: What qualities did your favorite past bosses have at your other jobs? What made him or her a great person to work for? After some thought, you might come up with a list of qualities that people would want to see in their leader.
1. A Willingness to Scratch Their Backs
If you are the boss, you have a certain responsibility to your employees and they to you. You know they have to get the work done and you have to help them get it done.
You don’t help them by physically working with them (unless of course that is the only option), but you are to make sure they are not distracted with frivolous duties and they have the resources they need to complete whatever they are working on.
Think about it this way: You run a contractor business. The client changed the color on the carpet. The store is to open in a week. Now you do everything you can to get the right color as fast you can. In return, you will see your employees work harder for you because they know you will come through for them.
2. Stand Up for What’s Right
Ever think about some of the leaders that you worked for that you respected even if you didn’t like them? Respect is earned, and one way to earn respect is by standing up for what is right.
If your boss wants to your team to work overtime and not pay them time-and-a-half, you stand up for the team. You tell your bosses it is wrong. If the company is starting to cut corners on manufacturing, you say something.
It is not always easy to stand up for the right thing. It will not always make you popular with certain people, but when you stand up for the right things, that demands respect from those around you.
3. Provide Feedback to Your Employees
People want to know when they are doing a good job and they want to hear it from their superior. Not only do people want to hear the good things, they also want to be better people and people are not perfect.
Take some time to work with an employee to work through things they may need help with. Don’t just tell them the right way to do something — show them. Sit down with them and talk to them. They may be your employees, but those employees are still people.
4. Open Lines of Communication
Employees want a leader that can talk to them and understand their situation. Not only do open lines of communications foster an honest and creative environment, it also fosters trust and teamwork.
An employee should never be afraid to approach you with something. You take the time to listen — really listen (no calls, no emails). The communication works both ways. Once your employees talk to you, you can talk to them open and honestly.
5. Don’t Stand Over Their Shoulder
Once you were not a boss or a leader. You once were at the bottom of the food chain, and what was one thing that probably drove you crazy? Your boss standing over you and watching your every move.
It might be OK for a couple of days, but remember you more than likely interviewed/hired these people. You already believe they have what it takes. Do you really need to see it for yourself? Not watching your employees’ every move will instill trust between you and your team.
6. Lead by Example
If you want your employees to be punctual, you must be punctual. If you want to them to stay late or work on the weekends, you must do the same.
Show them you are willing to get your hands dirty, and they will follow. If you work hard, they will too.
You may have had that one boss that always favored one person and that one person could do anything he or she wanted to. Being fair is not easy, but it is honorable. If you are fair with your employees then they will respect you because they know you are being fair, even if they don’t like your actions.
Being fair also means rewarding that person with the promotion or that raise because he or she deserves it and not rewarding someone who doesn’t deserve a reward and only gets one because of some other reason, like precedent or momentum.
Things happen in life and sometimes there is no way around it. If one of your employees comes to you with a problem, take the time to listen and try to figure out a course of action to solve the problem together.
If you put yourself in their shoes, you might understand their point of view better. Try to be compassionate with your employees, because compassion goes a long way to building trust, communication and devoted employees.
9. Be Passionate
If you are passionate about the work and the business, it will rub off on your employees. If you make what you and your team doing important and valued, they will respond positively.
The best leaders have these qualities — if you work toward them, then you are dedicating yourself to becoming a better person.
Then you will be a leader people want to work for. The better leader you are, the better your employees will work with higher morale and higher productivity.