Even though 2011 isn’t a big election year, the first week of November always stirs up conversations about the leadership abilities and mistakes of our elected public officials. It’s easy to criticize their actions and words when you’re on the outside looking in, and it’s nice to feel empowered with the opportunity to choose or reject them. But what if the shoe was on the other foot at your business and your employees were able to elect their leader? Are you providing them what you should, and would you be their final choice?
As a leader, you can’t make your decisions based on popular opinion. However, employee morale and your team’s perception of you are directly tied to your company’s productivity, profitability, and turnover rate. Keeping that in mind, consider what kind of “campaign promises” would earn your employees’ votes.
Honest, Consistent Communication
Even though it shouldn’t be difficult, the promise of open communication seems to be a hard one to live up to. Rational employees don’t expect you to always have good news for them. Every announcement can’t be that everyone’s receiving raises and your workplace is switching to a four-day work week. But, regularly sharing valuable information that concerns your team and honestly addressing issues will go a long way to increasing your employees’ trust in you and edge your popularity in the polls.
Sure you’re busy, but so is everyone else, and if you appreciate your most valuable asset you’ll make time to connect with employees. You don’t even have to have an “open-door policy.” Simply having days and times when everyone knows you’re available to talk with them and making those who do come to you feel important is a great way to boost morale and put you in good graces with your “constituents.”
Whether they’re your employees or the general population, people want and need to see their leaders striving to meet a vision that addresses more than year-end goals. The ability to see and endeavor to reach the long-term, big picture goal is the strength of a true leader. By holding that vision up to your employees, and showing them why they should strive to reach it as well is a key to rallying your troops for a common cause.
You shouldn’t have to make big promises of bonuses, increased time off, and embellished benefits to gain your employees’ support. Simply meeting your team’s basic needs to be informed, be heard, and be led will not only increase your popularity, it will make for a more productive workplace!