(Guest post by Monica Wells at bizdb.co.uk)
It’s clear that personal relationships with your employees are key to creating a work environment that is positive, inspiring and gives them a boost of energy to go the extra mile in their work. Finding the right balance between a friendly, casual culture and seriousness or responsibility is a challenge to many executives. Here are 5 key tips to help you build positive relationships with your staff and lead your business to success.
1. Embrace your role as the leader
Sometimes you might feel insecure about your authority to give orders to other people, but the truth is that a business is like a play and every employee expects direction from the person responsible for bringing the play forward – you.
Even if you feel self-conscious when playing the part of the ship’s captain, you’ll see that you’re most likely the only one who feels like that. If you feel comfortable as a boss, your employees will automatically feel more comfortable too – they’ll know that your take your role seriously and will never question your decision or disrespect your choices.
2. Provide constructive feedback
Based on objective observation and focused on specific issues, constructive feedback is an information-rich technique that brings a lot of good into a workplace. Great leaders care about the professional growth of their employees – show it when delivering your feedback. Even if it’s negative, your employees will understand that you’re talking about those issues with their best interest in mind.
Always refer to the specifics of a situation you’ve witnessed yourself – describe who was involved in it, what happened and what were the results. Remember that great feedback isn’t just about delivering your opinion, but also listening to your employees – always give them room to express their thoughts.
A great leader should be able to give their appreciation of employee performance not only as pure praise – adding a piece of constructive feedback into the mix will make the message more sincere and valuable.
3. Have an open door policy
Make sure that employees feel comfortable to come to you with concerns, new interesting ideas or even complaints. Doing this, you’ll be on your way to creating a strong relationship that is based on a continuous exchange of support.
But don’t close yourself in your office – be visibly present to your employees. While emails might be a more convenient communication method, face-to-face interactions are far more rewarding. It’s just simpler to show that you care about your employees’ opinions and ideas.
A word about friendliness. You should be friendly, but not friends with your employees. An occasional drink after work can be a good strategy to bring the team closer together, but becoming too friendly might easily undermine all the hard work you’ve done so far.
Avoid sharing personal stuff with your employees – laugh with them, ask them about their holidays and cats, but at the end of the day remember that your job is to make sure they work well and smart.
4. Dress for the role
Even if it sounds strange, the way you dress can become an important point of differentiating yourself from the rest of employees. This works especially in environments where employees don different uniforms in accordance with their rank – for instance, in a restaurant.
If you’re dressed in a plain chef’s jacket, employees will experience a kind of cognitive dissonance – on the one hand, they know that you’re the manager, on the other – they will instinctively treat you as a member of the team with similar responsibilities.
Putting on a different uniform, you’ll instantly create a visible distance between yourself and employees – a distance that plays a positive role in delineating the responsibilities of everyone working for the success of your business.
5. Be yourself
Working in an executive position, you might have heard that being nice isn’t going to work to your favor. People often associate leadership with severity, which in extreme cases can also relate to intimidation and the consequent lack of respect.
This is not how you build a positive atmosphere at your workplace. Being a yeller, you might accomplish your goals – but only on a short-term basis. People on the other end of your communications won’t be internally motivated to perform their tasks in the best possible way.
That’s why it’s crucial to just be yourself and if you’re nice, make sure to pair it up with rigor, tenacity and a lot of passion for your project. Set your expectations clear and push your employees to grow together with the business. Be polite and respectful to every single employee – your courtesy will be appreciated.
Being simultaneously a kind person and a respected boss isn’t easy to achieve, but once you do, you’ll be on your way to creating a work atmosphere that will positively impact the engagement and productivity of your employees. Working hard on improving your relationships with employees is definitely worth the effort.
Author Bio: Monica Wells is a Project Manager and a Team Leader at BizDb.co.uk – a companies house webcheck directory. She combines a strong background in Internet Science with an expertise in New Technologies. She is also an experienced educator teaching about making the most of the potential of the Internet for professional development. You can connect with her on Twitter.