Perception can be a real issue for leaders. They need to decide how they want their employees to see them and then act accordingly.
In most cases, leaders choose a combination of stoic-strong, closed-off, and loud-mouthed. Some bosses want to be seen as a bit of an asshole.
This is a strategic choice, usually intended to maintain respect and avoid inappropriate citations, but if you’re avoiding making any personal connection with your employees, then you’re making a mistake.
Employees who feel they are valued and appreciated are much more likely to go above and beyond for the company and hold themselves accountable for your business reputation. They will also be a lot happier in the roles.
If you overlook the importance of connecting with your employees, you won’t get the benefit of a dedicated, long-term team.
Some leaders find it hard to personally connect with their employees while still maintaining a position of authority. The trick is just to show that you care. Here are some ways to do that.
Go Above And Beyond To Help Them
It’s not enough to just help with work issues. A good leader should be looking for ways to help with personal issues too. For example, if you notice one of your team is struggling to find a place to rent, and you know someone who is looking for a lodger, introduce them.
If one of your team is passionate about the environment, empower them to introduce to improve your green credentials at the office, such as saving water in plastic water tanks to water your landscaping.
Doing things like this shows you want to help and support your team.
Relate To Them
Don’t act like you’re above your employees. If you’ve ever worked somewhere where the executive had their own parking spaces and made you carry their luggage on work trips, you will know what it feels like when your leaders don’t care about you.
If you get the feeling that an employee is having a problem, think about what you have gone through in your own career, and share with them how you did or didn’t overcome the situation.
As a leader, employees might put you on a pedestal, but putting yourself on their level by showing your own vulnerability and imperfections helps them to overcome their own difficulties.
Show Interesting In Their Personal Life
You shouldn’t be joining in the gossip about an employee’s latest date or heading out together to get drunk, but you can show that you care about your employee’s personal life without making it unprofessional.
If you know they’re planning their wedding, ask them how it’s going. If you know they’re having sleepless nights with a new baby, bring them a coffee. The trick is to let them know you don’t just see them as worker bees.
Show Interest In Their Partners
A lot of companies don’t allow significant others at work events, like the Christmas party, but it can be much better to include your employee’s partner.
Work is a lot easier when you have good support at home, so it can go a long way if you can let your employees’ partners know that you appreciate them as well.
Back Them Up With Clients
If an employee comes to you with a complaint about a client treating them poorly, don’t dismiss them. Instead, make sure you look into the situation, and if you need to, with the client. It doesn’t matter how much the client is paying you.
If you have talented people working for you who know that you have their back, you will get a higher return back than anything your biggest client can bring.
Do Things That Set You Apart
Being creative with your employee perks can go a long way. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does have to show that you have thought about how you can improve their professional or personal lives.
If you’re stuck, you can ask your employees what they would find most useful.
Be Real and Transparent
If an employee asks you for feedback, be honest. That doesn’t mean that you should be unkind, but shielding them from the truth won’t do anything to help them, and could hurt them in the long run.
Transparency might come with some uncomfortable conversations, but having those chats will show that you care enough to give them the truth, which means a lot to people. Truthful feedback also helps you to get better results.