People tend to confuse leadership and management. It’s true that they can be interchangeable, but in certain respects, these two notions are a world away from each other. Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management, once said: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” One of the most prominent characteristics of every good leader is that they help people develop, grow and unleash their full potential. In order to boost employee productivity, companies should revise their own management practices and start applying Positive Psychology principles. If you think that going all Miranda Priestly on your employees will make them more efficient, you’re wrong.
Monitoring and stimulating professional development of your employees should be at the top of your list. Employees are the most valuable asset of any company, and good leaders understand that investing in employee career development is one of the best ways to spend money as it delivers the greatest ROI. There are numerous courses and training seminars for employees, and they’re designed to improve various types of skills. For example, you can choose among courses in communication skills, interpersonal skills, presentation skills, strategic planning or time management. But that’s not all! Management, HR department, and leaders themselves should also attend a few courses, as the concept of lifelong learning is mandatory for all three levels of management.
With All Due Respect
Respect is a two-way street. You can’t expect your employees to respect you if you don’t behave in the same manner towards them. It’s not just about being a decent person and treat all people with respect. Productivity has a lot to do with respect, and it’s not just common sense. A survey of 20,000 employees from all over the world conducted by HBR, showed that people who were respected by their leaders reported 56% better health and overall well-being, as well as 89% greater satisfaction with their jobs. In other words, if you want your employees to be happy, motivated and productive you have to show them some respect. Discuss with them about their concerns regarding their job, find the way to handle any potential conflicts, identify what motivates each employee, and empower them. If you have to criticize someone, do it in a constructive manner that won’t make the person feel bad, and make sure to soften it with some positive comments. This kind of sugarcoating is a good thing when it comes to sensitive issues such as criticism.
The Importance of Feedback
Your employees need regular and constructive feedback. Otherwise, they’ll be kept in the dark without any idea whether their work is satisfactory or not. Besides, it’s essential that your employees know what you expect from them. Although many people believe that feedback is actually a criticism in disguise, it’s vital for improving performance and productivity. Namely, criticism, if appropriately communicated is a powerful tool that can direct your employees towards correcting their mistakes, thus improving their performance. On the other hand, great leaders are good listeners. Giving your employees an opportunity to have their say can be highly motivational. Besides getting valuable feedback from your workforce, you’ll also make them feel appreciated.
Virtue is NOT Its Own Reward
Establishing a reward program for employees is a somewhat overlooked corporate strategy for motivating the staff. Top companies have developed some very advanced systems for attracting and retaining their workforce. Google is the first company that comes to mind when we’re talking about that. Google employees can enjoy free food and drinks throughout the day, gym memberships, showers on campus, free rides from and to work, all kinds of insurances, and paid maternity (or paternity) leave. Not all companies can boast being in the second place of the Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands List in 2016, so lowering the bar is a good idea. Sometimes giving a day or a week off to the most productive employee can be an excellent idea. You can also decide to reward the employees who come early and stay up late. A flexible work schedule is one of the favorite perks that any employee could wish for. When it comes to rewarding employees for reaching a service anniversary, throwing an office party giving away gifts from generous Corporate prepaid gift cards will definitely result in a happy and motivated workforce. By rewarding your employees, you show them that you recognize all the efforts they put in developing your company and show them that you appreciate all their hard work. Although sometimes even a thank you note can make a difference, expressing your gratitude with something more substantial and valuable can have an extremely positive impact.
Being a good leader means making many unpopular, and yet efficient decisions. Still, there are many positive things you can do to compensate for that and avoid being labeled a bad boss.
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