If your small business has employees, you’ve likely wondered how you can be a better leader. After all, studies have shown that 79% of employees don’t feel their work is strongly valued, and 55% would leave their current organization for one that better recognizes their contributions.
So, knowing how important employee happiness is, how can you use your leadership role to encourage it? Here are 5 things you can try right now.
- Help out. Yes, you may be the top dog, but you should never pass up an opportunity to help your employees if and when you can. For example, if your restaurant got a sudden booking for 12 people arriving in half an hour, you could help your staff get organized and set up the area. Or if your team is swamped with customers and you notice someone walk in, you can step in and ask the customer if they need help. Getting in the trenches with your team when they need it sends a clear message that you care about them and what they do. They’ll also be more inclined to view
- Keep your door open. Whether it’s literally or figuratively, leaving your door open for your employees to talk is another way to show them you support them. Let them know that they can come to you if they notice an issue or are feeling like they need guidance or help. And if they just want to pop in to say good morning for a few minutes, that’s great too!
- Encourage their strengths. While it may not be realistic for you to customize each employee’s role based on what they’re strongest at, you should still play to their strengths. For example, if you run a small web design company and notice one of your designers is also very good at talking with clients, why not see if they’re interested in taking more of a client-facing role? Discovering and encouraging your employees’ strengths is a great way to demonstrate that you notice them, and that you care about them as an individual.
- Work on the work-life balance. Helping to create a healthy corporate work-life balance can reduce employee stress, increase productivity, and show your employees that your leadership takes their wellbeing into account. Whether it’s a paid half-day off per month, more telecommuting options, flexible work schedules or something else, sit down and brainstorm some ways you can help your team members have a healthier work-life balance.
- Model leadership that’s about more than just financial results. We know it’s important to you to have a small business that’s profitable, but that can’t be your only metric of success. After all, without happy and motivated employees, you won’t have a business at all! So make sure that you frame leadership as being more than just the bottom line. Let your team see that you’re driven by passion, empathy, core values, dedication, and a strong work ethic as well.
What are your favourite leadership strategies? Let us know in the comments!