Are your leadership skills winning over employees?
When Marissa Mayer took over Yahoo last summer, she brought a clean slate with her. She was leaving Google as one of the first 20 employees and one of its most valuable contributors. She was coming to Yahoo to help the company become relevant again. And from the purchases of popular websites such as Tumblr to giving the site a cleaner makeover, investors have taken a shine to the new direction.
Yet, for all of Mayer's successes so far, one thing that has hung over her has been her call to reverse Yahoo's work-from-home policy. Some praised her decision (fellow Yahooers, included). Others weren't so appreciative, saying employee morale would tank, among other issues.
However it was viewed, it was still a leadership decision at the end of the day. And even with the vocal minority who opposed it, it's hard not to argue the decision has moved the company culture forward. And that sort of call takes guts to make.
With that in mind, how do you know if your leadership skills are winning over employees? Are you innovating in certain areas, while being mindful not to disrupt current trends that keep employee morale stable?
If you're struggling to see which side of the fence you're on with employees, pledge your allegiance to improving these leadership skills.
Be more transparent
If you're going to make companywide changes, do so with your face out in front of it all. You could be addressing a new workplace mandate or talking about what your expectations are for the quarter. Whatever the memo happens to cover, be more transparent with your staff about decisions -- big or small. If employees have any questions about anything related to the message, make it known that you or the other executives are there to answer the call.
Be creative with team-building exercises
Team-building field trips are great, but sometimes they are too rudimentary: Go to some park, do a few trust falls and pyramids and call it a day. It's been copycatted so much that employees have become numb to the whole thing. You really want team-building exercises that inspire your team? Think bigger.
Maybe instead of the trust fall, you have your staff get together to help out the community. Find out what sort of volunteer opportunities would be a great fit. Maybe it's setting up a local food drive, donating blood, establishing a fundraiser, working with Habitat for Humanity or giving back some other way. However you try to encourage team-building, know that socially impactful opportunities help your workers bond more naturally than any field trip ever could.
Be open with successes and failures
Open and honest communication is something every employee desires. We all want to be acknowledged for our efforts. So whether it's one person or an entire team that performed brilliantly on a project, be the first to offer positive reinforcement on the matter. Stop by their desk or pop into the meeting to say a few words about how proud you are of their contributions.
And if an employee happens to stumble, let him or her know immediately. Let the employee know of what went wrong and what steps should be taken to rectify the situation. Keeping someone in the dark, whether it's for a positive or negative action, creates a culture of uncertainty for employees.
Be committed to career advancement
Great leaders are not threatened by another's success. They embrace positive gains from other employees and are more than willing to mentor when the situation presents itself. Great leaders have the confidence to empower performance improvement throughout the workplace and provide career advancement opportunities with the goal of higher productivity levels becoming more of a reality.
Give employees the tools and resources necessary to learn more skills and put that newfound knowledge back out in the field. Combat disengaged employees and two-week notices by showing them that their career is just beginning. Put employees in a position to shoulder more responsibilities and unleash their creative and productive potential to the benefit of not just their happiness but the health of your business.
Kyle O'Brien is the community manager for the e-learning company, ej4, and covers topics on employee motivation, writes about GenY engagement and discusses a host of other themes on business.
Permission must be obtained from CareerBuilder.com to reprint any of its articles. Please send a request to email@example.com.