What is the difference in creating a powerful, growth oriented organization and one where disengagement is the norm? Let me ask you a few questions to put you in the employee’s shoes.
When you were an employee, did you ever:
- Have a boss that you were afraid of or intimidated by?
- Leave a job because of an ego driven manager?
- Feel frustrated and feel you were not valued?
- Feel like you were just a number or cog in the wheel?
- Have a boss threaten you with fear based tactics?
- Feel you didn’t have any control?
- Feel the morale was low?
- Feel the employees were resisting change?
- Feel physically sick going into work?
- Have work stress you out at home and affect your family relationships?
All of these things lead to disengagement in the workplace. Yet, many companies are still using old management styles of control and fear. As we see the boomer generation starting to retire, and millennials starting to be a larger part of the employee demographic, it is important to recognize the difference of leading vs managing.
Are you instilling fear? Fear does not motivate. Fear does not gain respect or engagement. Treat your employees with respect and teach them. Successful people reach down the ladder and help others live into their potential.
Value and Flexibility
Today’s workers want to feel valued. They want to learn, grow and be a part of something meaningful. They want to collaborate, create, have independence, flexible work schedules, and contribute. Let’s look at some solutions to go from managing to leading.
Today’s employees are more educated than ever. They are tech savvy, have ideas, and education to back their ideas. They want to be involved and have new ideas that can benefit the company that older workers may not be aware of. Encourage open dialogue and be open to what they bring to the table.
Is it possible for your staff to perform their work duties from home? Give them the opportunity to do that whenever possible. Obviously, they need to be able to prove they are capable of the discipline it takes. However, employees today place a very high value on being able to work from home around their family, and with all the technology that is available, it is more do-able today than ever.
Create a Vision
Don’t get stuck in “managing” and force people to sit in the office where you can see them to make sure they are doing their work. These are educated adults, not children.
Remember that actions speak louder than words. It is not enough to talk from theory. True leaders create a vision and walk the walk. It is not beneath a true leader to pitch in and do something that is not in their job role. A leader is the example that others can follow. A leader gains respect, trust, credibility, and loyalty from their employees.
Is morale low? Get to the underlying reason and address that. Perhaps there has been downsizing and employees are down because they are afraid they are next. Keep an open dialogue and let them know the plans for the future and how it involves them.
Get to know your employees – their names, their family, and so forth. Let them know you care about them. It doesn’t take much to ask how their weekend was as you start the week, or ask if they have any exciting plans for the weekend. If they were off work with a sick child, ask how the child is when they return. Ask them how their holidays wen.
These don’t have to be long conversations. Simple questions such as, “How was your weekend?”, “How was your holiday?”, or “Is your little one feeling better?”. These types of conversation starters can go a long way to create an environment where employees feel like they are cared about, and not just another cog in the wheel for management.
Innovation and Being Open
People resist change when they feel threatened. They are often afraid of what change will bring. You cannot “force” change. A better approach is to share new innovative ideas and create the excitement and reason for change. You want your workforce embracing the change because they are excited about what it will do.
When people feel they have no control, they become unhappy, stressed, confrontational, and disengaged. Keep an open door policy where suggestions and ideas are welcomed. The more employees feel like they are a part of the company, the more they will engage and feel comfortable in sharing their ideas. Keep in mind that some of the best ideas could be lying within the employee that doesn’t say much.
Learn and Grow
Employees today want to learn and grow. They are not satisfied to stay in the same position. Typically, every 2-3 years they are ready to move up, or move out. If you don’t recognize this, you will continue to have high staff turnover.
If you don’t have a position for them to move up into, it is a good investment to keep helping them learn and grow. Invest in training and support them in bettering themselves. Down the road, you will have a more educated workforce than you do today, and that opens the door to new possibilities for your organization.
For example, if you have a graphic designer that wants to take a copywriting course, then support them. You may not have a copywriting position for them right now, but it would be in your favor to have someone that can take on some copywriting work for a raise in pay, rather than hiring a separate person for that position. If you do have someone in that position, then it’s always good to have another person that can overlap those responsibilities. The other benefit is it will add strength to the original role they are performing.
There is no place in today’s work world for ego. This is an outdated management style. Leave your ego at the door, or better yet, get rid of it all together! Work together, lead through your own example, teach from what you know, support employees’ growth and encourage them to be all they can be.
In today’s workplace, the most successful organizations understand this, and lead their teams to greatness. This results in higher engagement, higher profits, a happier workplace, and a loyal workforce.
How Do You Use Leadership vs Management?
If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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