According to Purdue University, for the first time in history there are five generations present in the workforce. And generational workforce differences present many challenges for employers when it comes to managing people effectively.
The unique mix of values, beliefs and life experiences that marks each generation influences how they work, communicate and respond to change. This has made it vital for organisations to shift away from the rule-with-an-iron-fist mentality and adopt new styles of leadership.
What's more, a survey of 5,000 employees by Oklahoma-based Hogan Assessments revealed an alarming truth: three out of four regard their manager as the worst part of their job. So, if you struggle to inspire confidence, trust and cohesion in your team, here are five points to consider on your journey to becoming a beloved leader.
1. Really listen to your people
When leaders who inspire devotion have a conversation with an employee, regardless of their rank or perceived importance, there is an intensity of focus. They are fully present and engaged with that person. No distractions. And that level of focus makes anyone feel special.
People intuitively know when you are not listening to them. And not listening intently to your people, just waiting for your turn to speak, is the quickest way to make them disengage and feel disrespected. Show your employees that their perspectives and insights matter.
2. Speak highly of everyone
Leaders who enjoy the adoration of their teams do not gossip. In fact, this is a characteristic shared by all likeable people, whether in a leadership position or not. But leaders who tend to speak highly of everyone in their employ, especially when they are not present, are rewarded with great admiration. Praise your people.
5 ways to become a beloved leader
Really listen to your people
Speak highly of everyone
Avoid favouritism like the plague
Beware your ego
Believe in your people
3. Avoid favouritism like the plague
We have a powerful innate sense of fairness. Consequently, employees crave the assurance that their manager will not take sides or treat some better than others. It is quite natural to develop favourites within your team, people with whom you identify on a personal level and perhaps even come to consider as friends, but you should never reveal this. Always strive to treat everyone fairly.
4. Beware your ego
Your position as a leader may give you power, but it is your character that commands respect and devotion. Confidence, of course, is something your team needs to see, but all too often it turns to conceit and condescension. A little humility and a sense of humour will go a long way towards showing your employees that you are indeed still human. When we are confident enough to accept imperfection and laugh at ourselves, people feel more connected to us.
5. Believe in your people
The simple fact is employees perform better under leaders who believe in them, and such leaders tend to be held in highest regard by their subordinates. Let your employees know that you want them to succeed and offer them a clear path to rise within the organisation. Mentoring and acknowledgement brings out the best in people and there is nothing more likeable than a leader who believes in you.
Numerous studies have shown that micromanagement and excessive restrictions on the freedoms of employees severely reduces performance. A well-liked leader displays confidence and trust in the abilities of employees by allowing them the freedom to make meaningful contributions on their own initiative.
Not feeling the love?
If you find it difficult to inspire your team or earn the love and respect of a great leader, we at Birn+Partners can help. As part of our coaching and mentoring services, we create a customised personal development programme that will help you win the hearts and minds of your people.