Understand Your Employees
We’ve all seen multiple personality tests that indicate the various differences in how people communicate. Understanding the nuances of what makes people tick enables you to help them succeed.
Your employees have a lot to say. If they come to you with a complaint, try to understand where they’re coming from and then try to get a bigger picture by talking to other people to figure out the whole story.
Don’t Lose Their Trust
If an employee feels comfortable enough to complain to you, don’t lose their trust. If you need to go to other people for more information, figure out a way to ask the right questions that won’t indicate who originally gave you the information.
Protect Your Team
When it’s appropriate, show your team that you’re willing to go to battle for them. Even if someone has made a mistake, be willing to absorb the implications for the whole team instead of pointing fingers.
Treat People Equally
It’s hard not to show favoritism, but treating everyone with equal respect will also make it easier on your “favorites”. Showing favoritism can create animosity in the workplace, and this principle also applies to yourself.
Just because you’re not someone’s direct report, you still have the ability to mentor and grow individuals. Take time out to coach individuals so that they can grow for the good of themselves and the organization.
Give People Responsibility
You are working with adults, right? If they come to you for advice, guide them in what they should do, but do not seek out to solve their problems for them. This not only takes power and responsibility away from them, but it also creates more work for you and can become a habit.
Take note of those employees that go above and beyond and make a point to call them out in a staff meeting. You do not always have the means to financially reward individuals adequately, but knowing that you are appreciated and valued is a reward in itself.
Protect Them from Instability
As a boss, we are privy to more information. Our human nature dictates that we share news with others, but it is our burden to carry business politics close to our heart (and share with our disinterested spouses instead). Letting employees know about instability in the workplace only breeds insecurity among the staff.
Understand You’re Human
You’ll never have all the right answers or make the right decisions. Remain grounded, do your best and continue to learn, grow and revise your approach.
Thanks to my father, who taught me many of these traits and continues to practice them with his employees today.