Your leadership style affects employee morale, productivity, and retention, and it’s important to be firm while being fair as a leader. Taking on a leadership role is a balancing act that becomes more refined as your experience grows. Not every employee or company is the same, and what is expected by one employer differs from another, including the work environment.
These are all factors that leaders must take into consideration when implementing their leadership style on employees. Empower your employees to be their own CEOs and develop their leadership skills as their careers develop.
Show Them the Power of Networking
Sometimes, it’s not about what you know, but who you know, that gets the job done. All employees know that networking is important for finding a job, but networking is also vital for information and learning to maintain your professional development. Professionals need to network for continuous career growth.
It’s not a sign of professional weakness to reach out to another professional for knowledge or to use their connections, especially when it benefits everyone. Include employees in your networking events and encourage them to open up to strangers, ask questions in a conversation and come back with a new contact in their network.
Some Struggles Build Professional Character
Many leaders don’t mind being hands on with their employees, especially when they are building experience, but it is possible to be too hands on. It’s okay to point them toward the right resources, but encourage employees to figure out problems on their own. Coach employees through a line of thinking if they need support, but don’t lead them there with a carrot on a stick.
If your employee needs help finding a marketing solution, point them toward creative and let them go. If the problem is more complicated, ask your employee questions that will get their gears revolving to solve the issue at hand.
Struggling a little builds professional character and empowers your employees to make their own decisions. Give your employees more authority to grow within their roles, and you’ll see them thrive as they take on more responsibility.
Meet in the Middle
Is a member of your team not gelling with your leadership style or vice versa? If you can’t see eye to eye, there’s a miscommunication problem in need of solving.
Meet in the middle by playing to your strengths and theirs, while taking a closer look at your own leadership weaknesses. Your employee will also have a chance to look at their professional strengths and areas for improvement. There are always learning opportunities, no matter how much experience you think you have.
Communication by email, outlining steps to be taken, may be best for employees are sensitive to word choices or need to have things written down. Does your employee need more hand-holding than you’re comfortable giving? Break a bigger project into smaller tasks, and divide the labor.
Make your expectations clear but also address their needs to find a compromise that works for everyone by asking the right questions in the first place. How does your employee best thrive in their work environment? How does your employee want to be rewarded and encouraged? How do you both communicate?
It’s important for your leadership style to work with your employee’s way of getting the job done and their communication style to the greater benefit of the company. Your leadership style will develop as you learn more about each of your employees and their personalities, strengths and areas for improvement.
As a leader, you need to remember that you’re a mentor to ensure that both you and your employees are giving their best to the company. Take your employees to networking events, and encourage them to reach out to other professionals for assistance and guidance.
Your style may be hands on or hands off, but a balance may be reached when employees require different styles of leadership. Allow your employees to struggle a little to build professional character and develop their skills. When problems arise, meet in the middle, and your employee will feel empowered to confide in you as a leader and to have confidence in their own decisions while addressing areas for improvement.
The views of the author of this article do not necessarily represent the views of Gradifi.