Do you look at the people in your organization as an investment or the company’s largest expense? Most leaders recognize that people are the company’s most important asset. The challenge for all leaders, however, is whether their behaviors and attitudes towards their team reflect that premise?
One major form of investment in people is to provide training and support opportunities to help them develop their skills and talents so that they can contribute even more to the company’s success. Leaders need to carefully consider the level of support that they offer to the people in their organization.
They should challenge themselves by asking questions such as:
Do I make myself available to people and give them an opportunity to seek my advice and encouragement?
Do I really have an open door policy where I encourage people to talk about problems and challenges?
Am I readily available to give people the support they need, when they need it?
Believing that people are worthwhile investments means recognizing how important they are to any organization because when the people succeed, so is the company, customers and shareholders.
The emphasis here is on support. Leaders need to refrain from telling people what to do or how to do it and so avoid creating a subordinate relationship.
Leaders must encourage their teams to think issues through for themselves, but they also need to communicate clearly that we are there to provide support.
I found out that team leaders support were more positive when the leader engaged in the following types of effective behavior:
Showing support for a team member’s actions or decisions
The best way leaders can provide encouragement and support on a daily basis is to allow their teams to make decisions, even if sometimes they are not the best decisions. This is why you as leader can step in and provide guidance which can help them realize the pros and cons of the decision they made.
As a leader, you are also there to help the thought process in each person’s mind in given situation. A lot of times, it’s the thought process that needs coaching and support.
When you provide the support for the actions and decisions, they see someone who can eventually help alleviating the stressful situations infront of them. Sometimes people encounter a stressful situation that can be highly emotional and draining.
Great leaders provide their teams the emotional support they need to thrive in stressful situations. A word of encouragement or sharing a story from your experience that might relate to the situation they went through.
Giving timely feedback and reacting to problems with understanding and help
A critical aspect of leading successful teams, is the ability to share immediate feedback to constructively make the situation better. Many leaders, just wait for the right time or afraid of offending someone. Neither one of these is really going to work in the long run if you want to have trust and honesty in your organization.
I think more than any other time, people want feedback and better communication from their leader-even if it’s negative. People would rather know where they stand, instead of pretending nothing happened.
The second aspect of the feedback loop is the ability to show empathy and understanding to provide support and help. Feedback begins with relationships. If the relationships are healthy and genuine- the better the dialogue with your team. All of us can relate to good relationships and bad ones.
We can all agree that good relationships encourage openness and foster better trust when we can share feedback without being offended.
What are some of your best practices you want to share to help leaders become better in supporting their teams?