Imagine: A joyful and relaxed office breakroom environment suddenly transforms into a sullen and quiet atmosphere as you make your way to grab a cup of joe. Simple murmurs and head nods are given to your words, but your employees only seem to come alive when you’re not around the water cooler. Making sure that your employees are well-connected with you is key to leading a powerful, dedicated team. Make sure that your employees are comfortable with you as a leader by following these five tips.
1. Enable flexible work.
It is not unheard of that an employee might have to skip out on a child’s recital, a family picnic, or even come in while they’re sick. However, it’s important to understand that our employees are not walking androids and often have complex lives residing outside of work. Creating a flexible workflow will allow your staff to feel as if their workplace understands that there are other obligations for them to tend to. Allowing flexibility can be as simple as letting a person to take some work home when needed. Our employees often cater to the needs of the workplace, but by showing them the same courtesy, we allow our employees to feel better equipped to spring back into their work.
2. Encourage occasional breaks.
The clock ticks by… Fingers are furiously typing away at a keyboard, while another set is desperately clutching onto a coffee cup thinking it’s the only remedy to counter a busy workday. Burnout is ever-present in our society and can disrupt workflow more than simply taking a couple breaks. It’s important to designate various office workspaces for breaks or lounging, but even more important to adamantly remind your employees to take their breaks! It’s one thing to offer them; it’s another to make sure they know you are encouraging to their needs. Taking breaks can help alleviate symptoms of burnout, but also is apt for networking around the office. The more connected and well-rested an employee feels, the better the workflow will be.
3. Cultivate a positive and interactive office culture.
During a lunch break, Dave is sitting at his desk eating, Joanne is taking a phone call, while Mindy is fervently trying to work on her upcoming proposal. These three employees are doing completely different things and never seem to speak to one another, but they all occupy the same space. Doesn’t seem like a problem? Well, it is! Creating an office culture is much more than the attitudes present in the workplace, but rather where certain behaviors can be accommodated. An employee should not be bound to a desk or chair the whole day, and with that comes the responsibility of allowing your employees to mingle in the break room with their non-work tasks. Creating a productive culture in the main workspace, and a more relaxed culture in lounges minimizes distractions and maximizes an interactive and friendly environment.
4. Lead your employees gently out of their comfort zone.
Our true potentials often have very little room to wiggle through, but as a leader, it is our duty to never underestimate our staff. It’s important to give challenging tasks to our employees; however, it is also important to understand that a bit of mentoring may need to come into play. Letting out employees differ from the normative work – if they want to – scan actually allow the company as a whole to delve into richer ideas and projects!
5. Make your staff feel valued.
Bonus checks and raises are a nice perk to a job well done, but there are other simpler ways to make sure that your staff feels valued year-round! Making sure that your staff is recognized when performing well or aiding them in overcoming a struggle can make a world of a difference in workplace attitude and behavior. When engaging in meetings, allow your staff members to fully communicate any dissenting opinions or even add on to present ones! Most importantly, make sure your staff is informed about any new work changes or projects. Our employees need to understand that there is a mutual respect and making sure they feel valued will surely earn your spot at the next water cooler hang out.
Leadership isn’t always as simple as a fancy nametag. To earn respect, you have to deliver respect back by giving your staff what they want. That way, when you need someone to follow your ideas, you’ll be off to a successful start.