I will go out on a limb, and say that all employers want to have their staff elated to go to work and efficiently take on tasks that will deliver the whole company to an ever-new level of success, all doing so with little management.
Not everyone in a management role has had extensive training or experience in managing and empowering others. I have found that there are a few things that make my team happy.
Open Communication and Transparency
Companies are often built on top-down communication. I suggest having a forum where all your employees are heard with equal value. This is easier in a small to mid-sized company. Direct access to management. As a leader, you may have clear direction and more experience, but that doesn’t invalidate feedback and ideas from everyone else in the office. It is important to understand that everyone’s input has value, even if you decide to go in a different direction. Make sure you acknowledge EVERYONE for sharing and reward valuable input that helps the company.
Many times, management is looking to have their staff grow through experience on the job. That doesn’t naturally happen as quickly as we would like. Individual growth in many industries requires training. With so many training seminars offered on -line, it affords personal growth with a little more convenience. If an employee can find a training tool to better themselves (with-in budget)- that in turn benefits the company… reimburse & reward!
Encourage Safe -Failure
Employees by their very nature, are risk-adverse. That’s why they are employees and not entrepreneurs. If the work environment is a place where the boss is always correcting them, before they have a chance to complete whatever it is that they were doing, they will constantly look for approval, or, they simply will avoid doing anything without the worry of not being capable. Give employees the opportunity to try new things or old things differently! Figure out a way to do this in a way that doesn’t put the company in danger, but could innovatively reach whatever goal you have set forth!
Share your Knowledge
Unfortunately, employees don’t always get the benefit of all the information that the managers have, yet they are expected to act and make good decisions as if they understood every nuance of the business. Great leaders figure out how to share pertinent information concisely. An employee who clearly understands values, purpose and direction of the company, I believe can make consistent decisions and take appropriate action. It is on you, as the leader, to clearly communicate your vision.
Define Job Expectations
People who don’t know what they are supposed to do, can’t do it very well. I have found when people have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, they either do- or do not. Definition creates a natural parameter of what they are supposed to do. This allows the Team Leader to have players that can do their own jobs, while the team collectively moves forward.
People need to know when they are meeting expectations and, more importantly, when they are not. Expectations allow for recourse, if someone is not doing what they were hired to do, then they should be held professionally accountable. If the company standard is to not take immediate action or delay in recourse, employees may not put in any effort let alone, extra effort.
Create Confidence through Independence
Management that is constantly looking over the shoulder of employees, is little more than a babysitter. Give your employees reasons and opportunity to do more. They may stumble, but they’ll learn from their efforts. The team only moves as fast as its slowest member. Calculated risk, if there are areas where independence can be granted- then do it!
Appreciation is one of the most important things for both the employer and the employee… for both sides. Yes, we all get paid to do our job, but it has been my experience that although monetary bonuses are great, there needs to be more. Employees need to feel that their daily efforts and contributions are noticed and appreciated. I say “thank you” to the team almost daily and we collectively celebrate achievements. Not every company can be Google, but we can notice everyone’s individual efforts. No matter how big or small a company is, it takes a team of employees working together.