As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the competition for talent is higher than ever, and it is critical that you keep a keen eye on the health of your organizational culture if you want to keep your best employees on your team.
While you can employ many proactive approaches to increase retention, including building culture, enhancing benefits, increasing flexibility, and actively showing appreciation to your team, these strategies will be quickly diminished by a poor leader. While we’ve previously helped you to assess your leadership style, this article will help determine if your leadership skills are simply lacking. While you might think you’ve got the basics covered – you have regular team meetings, you keep your team informed, and you can speak to your area’s results – we will focus on the skills that are critical to maintaining a strong morale on your team.
So, how do you know if your leadership skills are not where they should be?
- You Don’t Practice Work-Life Balance
It is clear that today’s business world is demanding. There are few industries or organizations left where payroll is abundant and employees can fulfill their responsibilities with time left to spare. Most people, especially leaders, feel stressed for time, which leads them to work long hours to satisfy the demands of their positions.
While naturally this is necessary in many cases, it is critical to find ways to balance work and life – even if it requires some creativity. Constantly prioritizing the office will teach your team that you expect them to do the same – even if you are telling them differently. A high-performing team member will burn out quickly if they try to follow your example by constantly working long hours to fulfill unreasonable expectations.
Set an example for your team by working the hours necessary to complete priorities, but by allowing flexibility to make time for personal needs when possible.
2. You Don’t Communicate Openly
While this one seems obvious, it is more nuanced than simply hosting team meetings. Communicating openly means providing the right information to your team at the right time. A skilled leader knows how to not overburden their team with unnecessary information, but also knows when to provide them the information that they need either to do their job well, or to help them feel comfortable moving forward. Especially in times of change, the right balance is critical.
Sharing the right level of information with your team, and not withholding information that is important for them to understand (even when it may be difficult to share), will also help to build a layer of trust that is critical to have as a strong leader. This will ensure that when your team has important information, they’ll also feel comfortable sharing it in return.
Also critical to open communication and trust-building is providing regular feedback. Not only will this boost accountability in your workplace, it will help your team grow and excel as they start to feel comfortable with the consistent approach to receiving both feedback and recognition.
3. You Have a Negative Attitude
Oftentimes, leaders like to vent with their teams. Again, there is a balancing act necessary. In some cases, solidarity can be very helpful. However, the leader must keep in mind that they are not simply part of the team – they are the leader. As the leader, and a representative of the organization, they should be finding a way to help their team through challenges and pain points to the other side.
If you’re constantly finding yourself engaged in venting sessions with your team, it may be a good idea to take a pause and consider what kind of effect that is having on your team’s morale. It is critical for the team to have someone to help them navigate challenges and emerge with a solution.
What happens if you’ve read these signs, and feel several of them describe you or members of your team? The good news is leaders are not born, they are made. Leadership is a skill that requires practicing. Recognizing that your skill requires development is the first step. Now is the time to explore training opportunities, seek a mentor or ask for feedback within your organization. The more support you seek, the more you will improve, and the greater chance your team will have to succeed.