By Terry Corbell
The Biz Coach
18 Leadership Strategies for Employee Respect
Even though Wall Street gets ecstatic over productivity growth, merely slashing costs and jobs to create profit is not sustainable for profits. I know investors mistakenly believe the earnings for such publicly held companies are good, but it will not last.
Workers are realizing they’re not sharing in the wealth. Poor morale will cause profits to plummet, and consumer demand will continue to plunge. What will investors and CEOs do when it gets much worse?
So try a new strategy with a vision for growth.
The key to long-term profits is organizational cohesion. Some businesses are profitable simply because employees trust and implement management’s vision. Let’s consider how to increase worker productivity and reduce labor costs.
If you want to increase worker productivity and reduce labor costs, here’s a question: Are your employees buying into your vision for growth?
Leadership style is important. Earning respect is paramount. Note: There are 10 key differences between leaders and managers.
In fact, mutual respect is the first step in getting employees to share your vision. That results from implementing strategies for healthy worker satisfaction, which might seem like an impossible dream for some employers in this economy.
When a company underperforms, do employees blame managers? In all probability, the answer is yes. At a lot of businesses, the workforces are unhappy with management. And the majority of employees want their bosses to invest in them.
Is your business suffering from poor morale? If so, take steps to increase your profits by communicating better with your employees. Generally speaking, employees who are satisfied with their jobs perform at higher levels, which is really a result of their satisfaction with their employers.
A study from a 2006 Biz Coach column confirmed this supposition. That’s when I reported Deloitte Consulting concluded that the 56 public companies included in Fortune’s list of “Best Companies to work for” had a 78-percent higher stock performance than the S&P 500. And I’m betting a similar study about profitability would have the same result today – in either big or small companies.
So what do workers want monetarily? They want what is probably impossible for cash-poor firms.
The top worker preferences:
- Competitive wages
- 100 percent paid health-care
- 100 percent company-funded 401(k) plans
- A compressed work week
- Flexible schedules
Great profits or not, you can tap into other worker emotions that satiate them. Do your workers respect you? Do they feel treated with respect? Companies failing to take the necessary employee-motivation measures can expect employee turnover – whether or not the economy improves.
Here’s a leadership checklist for success with employees:
- If you’re new to the job, earn your stripes and demonstrate humility. Unless it’s a crisis turnaround situation, take several months before implementing changes. New bosses inherently intimidate workers – give them a chance to like you or least feel they know you.
- New or not, be accessible. Walk the floor twice a day. Spend five minutes a week with each employee whenever feasible. Show interest in them. Ask open-ended questions to get them to talk with you. If you do, they’ll conclude you’re a brilliant conversationalist.
- Actively listen to your employees. When you’re approached put down the pen or turn away from your computer. Employees rave about bosses who give their full attention.
- Encourage workers to suggest ideas for business success. If an employee makes a suggestion – even if you’re not in full agreement – look for reasons to be accepting of the idea. The worker will give 1000% to make an idea work, and the person’s morale will skyrocket. If it doesn’t work, the employee will endeavor extra hard to fix it in order to save face.
- If you’re not the top person in the company, use your influence to help employees to achieve their career goals. If you are the top manager, do whatever you can.
- Recognize top performance publicly. Praise immediately.
- If you must criticize an employee, try to use the layered-sandwich approach – two positives, the negative and a positive.
- Avoid criticizing an employee publicly.
- Ask questions before you start reprimanding. Sometimes there are good reasons for negative surprises. So avoid unnecessary embarrassment for your employee and you.
- Consider the Pareto principle when you honor workers – the top 20 percent deliver 80 percent of top performance.
- Maintain a steady disposition. Otherwise, when you’re under duress about a business matter, many employees will take it personally and mistakenly think you’re unhappy with them.
- Try to get key employees to buy-in to your new initiatives before implementation.
- Use good technique when implementing instructions. That means being direct, low-key but firm and maintaining strong eye contact. Explain the reasons whenever possible, but don’t be tentative or apologetic.
- For complex projects, be careful in how you give instructions. Take adequate time to list and document your wishes and deadlines. Recap in memos or emails. Like good meetings, everyone should know who will do what and when they’ll do it.
- Follow up and inspect your employees’ work or deliverables. Show your interest.
- Be courageous, especially in unpopular positions, but be cool under fire.
- Give your employees freedom – don’t micromanage. Make certain your subordinate supervisors do the same.
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Take appropriate steps to alleviate weaknesses and hone your strengths.
If you execute these ideas, you will profit from good labor relations and you will be in a position to leverage the perspective of your company’s human capital.
From the Coach’s Corner, here’s a question from a reader about proper etiquette:
Q: Lately, I’ve attended several business meetings where I have already met the other attendees, but my bosses have not. When introducing the vice-president or president of our company, (I am a manager), should I use his title, “John Doe, President of ABC Company,” or simply say “John Doe, also with ABC Company?”
A: That’s an excellent question. It’s refreshing that your company employs such a conscientious person as you. It’s proper protocol to introduce guests to your boss first, such as: “This is John Doe, president of ABC Company.” Then, introduce your boss to the other person.
“It is a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead – and find no one there.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.