Historically there have always been good leaders, and business leaders are no exception; but what truly defines what a good leader is?
At some point, all employers “do wrong” in the eyes of an employee; however, a good leader knows that success comes from the shared vision of a common goal, and that an employee will recognize and respond positively to certain actions.
Being valued and appreciated
Change with a purpose
Honesty does not have to mean “telling the truth and the whole truth…” because there are somethings that people don’t need to know. You can be honest with your employees without sharing everything; they accept and understand that; however, you need to follow through with what you say you are going to do, otherwise it can damage your credibility. Your reputation is what defines you, and people’s “perception makes their reality”.
Being an employee who is valued and appreciated is shown in actions as well as words. There is so much knowledge and understanding of the world, that a good leader will leverage their employees to gain new perspectives and insights. How long has an employee been here and what changes have they seen? What did this person do in their last position? What are their hobbies? Once that communication starts flowing and people start feeling appreciated for their efforts and valued for their thoughts, they will start reflecting that back onto their employer creating a team environment.
Change is hard, but changing with a purpose creates a better environment. Change takes time and has many steps, but having open communication and showing progress makes change easier because everyone is part of the shared vision and common goal. Change fails when communication fails. There is always a reason that change is needed, but rarely is it easy. How many times have you heard, “We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work”? When it comes to change management, that is an unacceptable answer because change failed before it even started.
Feedback is communication, and communication is the key to everything. Feedback should never be personal in the workplace, and should not be taken as such. Feedback is how we grow, and feedback comes in both positive and constructive forms (it should never be negative). People give and receive feedback multiple times a day, every day of their lives, without even thinking about it being “feedback”. “The food was a little salty” is you giving feedback to the cook. “That dress looks great on you” is you giving feedback to the person wearing the dress. So why is it that when we label this form of communication as “feedback” and use it in the workplace that people react differently towards it?
So what does honesty, value, appreciation, change with a purpose, and positive feedback all have in common? They are all parts of employee buy-in. And to answer our question from the beginning on what truly defines a good leader? A good leader is someone who gets employee buy-in. With buy-in comes loyalty, respect, and happiness. Employees do their job because they understand how they impact the company and why processes are done in a certain way. They will do it your way because it was determined to be the best way, and they will follow it because they were part of it and are committed to the importance of it.
What happens when there is no employee buy-in? Change becomes a farce. It becomes hard and unreasonable, and at some point change will fail. Employees will do it your way because it’s part of their job and you make them. What happens if you leave or stop following up? The process will revert back to the “old way” and people will start doing it “the same way that we have always done it”.
How do you avoid mutiny in the workplace? By being a good leader and trusting in your employees.
April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.
Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.
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