If you are thinking about attending an MBA program, one of the most important soft skills and accompanying concepts that will be taught are leadership and its role in maximizing team performance. The assumption of most MBA programs is that graduates are being trained for management and leadership positions and therefore need to be able to motivate and inspire those working for them for the benefit of the organization. With that in mind, below are 4 management tips to get the most out of your employees.
Meet people where they are!
When you meet a person where they are, you are putting aside what you want from them, and instead are attempting to tailor your expectations and the way you interact with them based on where in their professional and personal journey they are. To truly meet a person where they are, a leader should endeavor to listen without judging, ask questions openly, honestly and in good faith, and always with the recognition that this person is a human being deserving of dignity and respect.
When you interact with your employees in this way, what you ultimately communicate to them is empathy and understanding. Development is a continuum and people move across it at different speeds and on different trajectories. The role of a leader is to help people to fully self-actualize so that they are able to become high performers. Unfortunately, many leaders forget this and instead approach these sorts of differentials with impatience and even scorn. What you get as a leader when you fail to meet people where they are and instead impose where you are on them is often resentment, fear, and suboptimal performance from people.
Give people recognition.
Recognition is a strong motivator and influencing factor when it comes to job engagement and is one of the five fundamentals of employee satisfaction. If a manager wants to facilitate productivity and contentment in the workplace, they need to take care to recognize people when they deserve recognition. Recognition does not always have to be individual but can be directed at high-performing teams as well, which can be an especially powerful way to encourage teamwork and collaboration.
Additionally, recognition is not something that needs to be reserved for performance reviews. Recognition can take the form of a team outing or dinner and drinks after a job well done or a project well-executed. A manager can recognize an employee in private or make special mention of an individual employee’s contribution during a team meeting. Creating a culture of recognition goes a long way to building positivity in the workplace and instilling a desire to do well and work hard.
Exemplify core values.
Most people have heard the saying “be the change you want to see in the world” and for leaders, it is something you need to take to heart if you are trying to build a cohesive and palpable organizational culture. What this saying means is that, as a leader, you need to not only create and decide on the values you want to permeate a workplace, but you have to be the one showing people that you are sincere in your desire to adhere to and promote them.
These could be values surrounding helpfulness and collaboration; a social and environmental conscience when doing business; a commitment to the truth and integrity. Employees are much more likely to buy into organizational culture and values when they see managers taking them to heart and leading by example.
Be a team builder.
High-performing teams are ones that collaborate well, and if you want to establish the conditions for these dynamics to take shape, you have to give people a chance to develop strong bonds with one another. Team building is a hot topic right now as many companies struggle to find ways to encourage collaboration and the meaningful relationships that it is built upon. In a remote work, virtual team-building activities are hard to get right, but they are not out of the question.
You do not need to be a perfect person to lead effectively, just someone who understands what it takes for people to want to work with and for you and their coworkers. Managers can inspire people around them to do better simply by having the empathy to meet people where they are, recognize people for their hard work, setting examples of core values and giving teams the chance to form meaningful professional and interpersonal relationships with one another.
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