Feeling disconnected from your team? Being "the boss" can be isolating and interpersonally tricky, but becoming an effective leader doesn't necessarily require huge overhauls and radical rethinks. Instead, it's often the small things which really matter to employees. Try implementing some of the "small ideas" below...
1. Make yourself approachable
Being "in charge" is often associated with a substantial dose of ego. Even for bosses who aren't prone to self-importance, being at the top of a hierarchy can make others see you as unapproachable. This combined with the stresses of managing a business can lead bosses to seem like intimidating figures. The best business leaders, however, are readily accessible to their employees.
Smooth communication at all levels of a business will benefit companies hugely. It ensures red flags are raised, tasks are completed with precision and great ideas are shared. Small things such as being involved in the social life of the workplace, setting up a weekly "open door afternoon" and rewarding team members for approaching you with concerns and ideas will all help you engage more openly with employees.
2. Give detailed feedback
Giving feedback is time-consuming, but it's also invaluable to both staff members and businesses as a whole. Without a clear idea of what they're doing well and which skills they need to develop, staff can feel lost and mistakes can be made. Don't wait all year until annual reviews to feedback to your staff, make giving feedback a regular habit. When a task is completed, tell team members which aspects were good and which areas ran less smoothly. Over time, your employees will hone their working styles to suit your demands. Make sure you balance negative feedback with praise to ensure staff remain motivated. Take care to always frame "negatives" as "areas for improvement", to help generate the most positive responses.
3. Show you care with thoughtful extras
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it can also show your staff that you care about their wellbeing. Small, tangible, everyday workplace benefits show employees that you are invested in their workplace health and happiness. Individuals who feel cared for are more likely to care about their employer in turn, contributing more and feeling motivated to grow within a nurturing environment. Consider arranging little extras such as fresh office fruit deliveries from a corporate supplier like Fruitful Office, or set up regular shoulder massage mornings for your team with a spa experience team like Work Spa.
4. Show your appreciation
This may sound obvious, but many bosses forget the power of thanking staff for their hard work. Whether your entire team or one particular employee has done a good job, take a moment to thank them for their time and recognise their efforts. This ensures morale and motivation remain high. Reward schemes and vouchers are a good way to formalise giving praise - you can even turn this approach into a company wide incentivisation scheme.
5. Schedule more one-to-ones
A great way to take care of all of these tips in one fell swoop is to schedule regular one-to-ones with each member of your team. In these meetings you can give specific feedback, increase your approachability, show employees they are appreciated and even ask them what "little extras" would make their work days more enjoyable. Lock these meetings into shared calendars, prioritise them and honour them to build trust with your whole team.