Strong Leaders Listen

Leadership is in crisis. Many companies are facing a disconnect between the success of their employees and the instruction of their leaders. What’s more is businesses are losing great future leaders to current managers who refuse to adapt to changing times. Is your company facing a leadership crisis?

Leadership, in name only, is simply the dominant position within a company. Leaders can be the owner, manager, or senior executives within an organization. These positions should be responsible for the implementation of policy, procedure, and growth.

On a deeper level, these positions are also responsible for the development of their workforce. Strong leadership cultivates a positive work environment and empowers employees. Perhaps most important, leaders are responsible for fostering an atmosphere of trust and respect.

Company culture is paramount to the success of any organization. Nearly one-third of all employees do not trust their leadership (SHRM). As a business owner, you should be developing a strong leadership team for your employees.

Listen

“To be a good leader, you have to be a good communicator. As a leader, you have to communicate your intent every chance you get. If you fail to do that you will pay the consequence.” William McRaven, former Admiral of the United States Navy

Does upper management listen to the needs of employees? Studies show that when an employee feels valued they are more productive and thus generate more profit for their company (here). Take the time not just to hear what employees have to say. Listen to their concerns, suggestions, and opinion. These are people invested in your company who provide valuable perspective.

Respect

“My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society.” Larry Page, CEO at Alphabet Inc.

Leaders will respect the space and place of their staff. In turn, employees respect leaders who embody the values they preach. Do you have a manager who pushes consistency but then waivers in their own mission? Does your leadership team demand deadlines but then procrastinates themselves? Respectful leaders do not simply manage their staff. They strive to understand people, create relationships, and respect the autonomy of each individual.

Empower

“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” Andrew Carnegie, Founder of the US Steel Corporation.

College graduates change jobs an average of four times before they are 32 (Money). The emerging workforce is a prime space for companies to pick up future leadership. To foster these bright young stars, a company must have an environment where employees feel empowered. Are employees able to make decisions, and potentially mistakes, without fear of retribution? Are entry level and mid-level employees encouraged to participate in planning discussions? Empowering your employees generates a sense of involvement and responsibility in their company.

Patience

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams, former US President

Building a strong team takes time. Is your leadership team patient in the process? If you have managers that simply expect quick reactions and immediate decisions, they’re fostering an environment of fear and anxiety. There is a time for quick decisions and forward thinking. Yet there is also the need for cultivation and fostering an environment. If your company has recently undergone a transition (merger, acquisition, cutbacks, etc) having leaders who are patient is critical. During these types of high stress situations, employees feel more insecurity. Strong leadership puts their mind at ease and allows them to remain productive through transition.

by Jessica Goldberg