It’s no secret that today’s talent marketplace is incredibly competitive, with top talent willing to jump companies at any moment for a better opportunity. Combine this factor with a millennial workforce that may quit a job rather than tolerate an unhappy work environment, and you have a perfect storm that requires superior navigational skills and effective leadership to weather.
Today’s entrepreneurs and corporate executives understand the importance of creating and maintaining strong relationships with their direct reports. Employees who feel connected with their bosses are less likely to leave a company, according to a 2015 Gallup report. Or, if job dissatisfaction starts to rear its ugly head, they are more likely to have a conversation early, before leaving becomes the only viable solution.
For newly minted business owners and managers, one of the hardest aspects of connecting with your team may just be deciding where to begin. One of the simplest and most effective places to start may be making yourself accessible to your team. “My door is always open” is a phrase many leaders use to communicate their accessibility. While the intention is good, this mindset can put a great deal of responsibility on the team member.
Walking into a manager’s office unannounced can feel intimidating, even with the best of bosses who demonstrate effective leadership. Your team members may also fear looking incompetent; no one is going to volunteer for that. You are the leader, so consider taking the lead and going to your team rather than expecting them to come to you. When done well, this may help communicate that you really are available and accessible. In order to set the right tone (and not scare your team to death!), here are three ideas to consider as you get started on the path to effective leadership:
Work Among the Workers
Tony Hsieh of Zappos does not have an office with a door. In fact, he doesn’t have an office at all. His desk is out in a room full of cubicle-like desks where he sits among other team members. While this may not be practical for you, consider having a satellite desk that is mixed with your team’s desks. To make this work, you may want to use it regularly and go about your business while you’re there. Otherwise it may feel like the boss is checking up on everyone.
Share Meals Together
Consider taking your employees to breakfast or lunch. It can be one-on-one or you with a team of employees. Getting to know them and allowing them to know you may be beneficial to your business. I’m not suggesting that you have to be friends with your employees, but these types of personal interactions can strengthen the bonds that hold your company together. People who know you may want to work harder for you and the business. Showing a genuine interest in other people can be a key to successfully building these bonds. Faking it may not be the best route!
Put Your Employees in Charge for Effective Leadership
When an opportunity arises to delegate responsibility of a project to one of your employees or team members, consider reversing the roles and handing them the reins. In certain cases, the boss may allow others to lead while they follow orders. Consider having your new leader give you an assignment that requires working with other members of your team. It may bring you closer to the group and give someone on your team the chance to exercise their own leadership skills.
Sometimes, the best open door policy is to have no door. If you demonstrate clear communication channels and accessibility to new ideas and opportunities, then you may have a winning strategy and a grasp on effective leadership. This may encourage your team to believe in you and your company.
Read more articles on leadership.