One of the words that you hear or read about often in business is the word, leadership.
People, including your employees, are not going to follow you just because you say: I want you to do this because I say so.
You may be the CEO, president or owner of your business. You may be the boss. You may be the person in charge of the company. But things have changed over the years. Today, in business, you have to earn someone’s respect in order for them to follow you and view you as a company leader.
1) People are not just a number. Show that you care for the people who work with you and for you. So much of what we encounter in today’s world makes us feel like we’re just a number. For example, when calling your credit card company, before you can talk to a person, you must first enter on the keypad your account number. Or you go to your local bank. It used to be that people developed a relationship with everyone at their local bank. Now we use banking machines and bank online. Gone are the days of knowing the bank manager and all the tellers by name. Everywhere you go, whatever you do today, there is an account number or a customer number often involved. But successful business is about more than being just a number. People want to know you are on their team. That you are there for them.
2) Lead the way by setting the example at your company. Help employees become more successful at what they do – and your company will become more successful. Rather than instructing your employees to: Do better, sell more and give better customer service – you need to show employees the way by the example of your daily leadership. Teach them, show them what they need to know so they do better, sell more and give better customer service. Think about who you really are as a person not just CEO, president or business owner. Always remember where you came from; where you first started out in the world of business. How did you want to be treated in your first jobs? If someone is doing a good job, tell them so. If someone isn’t doing a good job, tell them so and help them to do a better job. Always treat people, including your employees, with fairness and integrity.
3) Have an open mind. An effective leader has the ability to see things through the eyes of others, whether it’s an employee, a customer, a vendor or the team that cleans the office or maintains the landscaping outside the office building. You do that by caring about the people you work with. And that caring shows in how you talk with them and interact with them every day. When you care, and people know you do, the work is going to get better. If it doesn’t then as a leader you have to ask: Why?
4) Business is about winning – on both sides. Never put people in a position where they feel like they’ve lost and you won. Leaders want everyone to win. Employees, for example, need to know you are there for them so that they feel good about the work they do each day. You want your employees to go home at night from a day at work and say: You know what I did today? Let me tell you about… As the leader of your company, you want employees to walk out of work not exhausted, tired and frustrated. You want them to walk out of work saying to themselves on the commute home: I am really proud of myself and the job I did today. And they know they did well because you told them so before they left work.
5) Share the wealth. If your company is doing well – in other words, it is profitable; don’t keep all the profits for yourself. Include your employees. Give back to the people who got you to this place of success. Acknowledge it verbally but also acknowledge it financially. Otherwise, employees will be looking for another job. Then you’ll have more new employees to train than you anticipated – and it may not be profitable to your business in the long run.
Remember, leaders lead.
Business is about people. If you can’t relate to them, motivate them and get them on your side, you will not have the success you’re looking for with your company.