Leadership (Part Fourteen)

I think that by now it should be clear that the most successful business leaders understand that for a business to thrive they must unlock the true potential of their staff. These leaders see their staff as their most valuable asset and not as a expense that is reducing the business profits.

Let us have a look at what these great leaders do to recognise and unlock the true potential of their staff.

Give Employees Clear Job Descriptions And Accountability: It is critical that you give each of your employee’s clear job descriptions and accountability. It’s not enough to just state each role’s responsibilities; rather, you must specify the expected results and tasks. For example, the customer service manager’s described role might be to handle all inbound customer service calls. Their expectedresults, however, might be to answer all calls within 15 seconds or less, resulting in 90 percent customer satisfaction in telephone follow-up service. Only by specifying roles and expected results and accountability can you get what you want from each employee.

Establish Fair Company Policies That Support The Company’s Goals: Developing fair company policies that adequately support the company’s goals will motivate your employees even more. For example, you cannot treat attending a seminar as a personal day if you want to encourage continuous learning. Rather, ensure your policies and practices encourage employee feedback, collaboration, decision-making, and so on.

Get Ongoing Input From Employees: You want to invite your employees to help set goals so that they really buy into them. Seek employee input on key decisions and plans on an ongoing basis. Understand that as the leader, you will make the ultimate decisions and plans. Even if you don’t follow your employees’ advice or take their suggestions verbatim, however, the very act of soliciting their feedback will give you more information and ideas and will make them feel involved.

Manage, But Don’t Micromanage: Employees do not like to be micromanaged. It’s disempowering. It’s therefore important to distinguish the difference between checking in and checking up on your employees. Likewise, when managing, don’t dictate every detail of how to complete a project. Remember, employees can’t grow and gain new skills if you’re telling them exactly what to do for every project they work on. They need a sense of autonomy to feel that they’re succeeding.

Have, And Show, Faith And Trust In Your Team: Most humans have relatively fragile self-esteem. If you don’t believe your employees can do something, they won’t believe they can either, and they won’t do it. You must have faith in them. You can’t just say you have faith: you need to show you do to enhance their confidence in their ability. To achieve this, give your employees some autonomy to make decisions. Let them take ownership of challenging projects and decide how to complete them. Although it can be a challenge for almost any leader/manager, you must let them fail sometimes and not get angry about it.

Listen To, Focus On, And Respect Your Employees’ Needs: You’ve likely heard this before, but it’s worth repeating that in leadership, listening is more important than speaking. I love this quote: “Questions unite. Answers divide.” Asking questions of your team will get them to participate; dictating the answers will cause them to tune out.

Effectively Communicate And Share Information: You also must consistently share new information to ensure that your employees make good decisions. You must always let employees know how the organization is progressing toward achieving goals. Setting targets and posting the results monthly will allow you to achieve this.

Henry ford said- “Don’t find the fault, find the remedy”

The writer is a Kigali Based business consultant and strategist.

www.gmskigali.com

E-mail: john@gmskigali.com

This article is part of a a series on leadership by the author and will run exclusively on Business Times for the coming weeks.

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