Leadership positions are an aspiration for many in the business world, but they’re also ones that come with a lot of responsibility.
It’s important to make the distinction between good leader and good manager. Think back to the classic Bill Gates prediction: “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
As the traditional pyramid hierarchy continues to flatten across the globe, it’s the leaders who can inspire an entrepreneurial spirit in their teams who stand out.
But what does leadership in 2019 do to ensure employee satisfaction and retention? We composed a list of behaviours and traits that are not only essential to leading teams, but also have a positive impact on enhancing the employee experience.
1. Provide ability to grow and take on new opportunities
The Institute of Employment Studies has shown that new opportunities are the strongest drivers of engagement. It gives the employees the feeling of recognition and ability to develop and capitalize on their strengths.
However, in order to help employees understand what they need to work on can further improve and develop necessary skills. This begins with clear and consistent dialogues that begin with superiors. Leaders need to provide feedback as well as outline career paths for employees. These discussions can also involve training options that benefit both the organisation and the individual.
2. Leadership means setting clear expectations
Employees need to be able to see how their roles fit in the overall organisational structure. The “how you help us succeed” needs to stand in line with the common goal and strategy, mission, and vision.
Leaders work with employees to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to set expectations. It contributes to the feeling of security as well as their abilities to make an impact on a larger scale. It is also important, however, to ensure that individual goals are realistic and attainable.
3. Provide autonomy and facilitate with efficient resources
Micromanagement is both frustrating and demotivating. It has a negative impact on employee engagement, and on the organisation as a whole.
On the other hand, studies have shown that increased work autonomy is associated with higher employee satisfaction, which in turn leads to higher retention rates. Autonomy is linked to the feeling of responsibility, which puts a “big-picture” emphasis on the individual’s work performance. However, in order to prevent fatigue and frustration, it is necessary to provide the workforce with resources that will facilitate and optimise effective wok.
4. Effective leaders understand how to delegate
In addition to providing your team with autonomy, leadership in 2019 means being able to wisely delegate tasks. This not only frees up a leader to work on work on strategy and large-scale projects, it instills a sense of trust and ownership within the team. By outlining clear expectations and having ongoing conversations with your employees, leaders will be able to help direct reports navigate roadblocks and stay focused.
A leader who delegates also empowers their employees to think for themselves. The Harvard Business Review recommends that leaders begin separating the outcome from the process. Show your employees what good work looks like, but let them figure out how to complete projects by using their own critical-thinking skills.
5. Reward and celebrate accomplishments together
Although offering rewards might seem to have a direct impact on motivation, studies actually show something different. In fact, studies confirm that recognition has more of an impact on productivity than financial gain. Furthermore, more than 35% of employees claim that a lack of acknowledgement is a primary reason for decreased productivity and resignment.
Employee appreciation pays off. Therefore, celebrating accomplishments and rewarding your employees should be top priorities for management. Of course, rewards will differ between positions and roles, but offering incentives and rewards for high performance motivates employees to go “the extra mile”.
6. Build a strong relationship with intact communication
Intact communication is crucial for any relationship, including employees and managers in the workplace. The Engagement Toolkit for Managers and Leaders by Harvard highlights: To ensure smooth productivity on a daily basis and catalyse work progress barriers need to be removed.
In an effort to build and strengthen the management-employee relationship, it is clear that feedback has to run both ways. In addition to the direct dialogue with the employee, providing frequent feedback is also essential.
Surveys enable leaders to grasp the big picture and also indicate where action is needed. Data can be obtained in different ways, which include 360 degree surveys or employee pulse surveys. If you are not sure which method(s) would suit you best, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask our experts.