As a leader, one of the most satisfying things is watching your team work in harmony. Not only does this tell you that you hired well, it also signifies your staff are happy. And a happy worker is a productive one.
Developing and maintaining a content and cohesive workforce is the skill of all great leaders. Sometimes, however, the intensity of running your own business can make you lose touch with your team and you end up running the risk of losing some of your prized employees, especially the ones who need reassurance that they are valued and doing well.
Here are five little things you can do to keep your team happy:
1. Maintain your self-awareness
One of the biggest advantages of acute self-awareness has nothing to do with how you view yourself; rather, it has to do with how you perceive others. Thorough, practiced self-awareness heightens your empathy and attunes you to what’s going on around you on a day-to-day basis. Who seems frustrated? Which two team members aren’t getting along? Is a team member overwhelmed?
Good self-awareness not only alerts you to problems before they become unmanageable and damaging, it lends you an air of openness and approachability. It also helps you identify your own strengths and weaknesses and how to use these to push your business and your staff forward.
2. Don’t micromanage
A defining characteristic of an entrepreneur is their belief they can do anything and everything. This is great for instilling self-belief and a proactive attitude, but once the business is off the ground and you’ve established a good team you’ve got to know when to let go.
Micromanagement makes the person on the receiving end feel like you don’t trust their abilities. It can also stunt that person’s natural drive and creativity. Know when to take charge and know when to stand back. Delegate. Let your team in on important decisions. Help them to grow and succeed and, within reason, let them work how and when they like.
3. Create a pleasant workspace
This one is super important. A dimly-lit, noisy space with drab colouring, cheap furniture and ageing computers is not going to motivate anyone.
Simple touches like plants, ergonomic chairs, and maybe an inspiring message on one or two walls helps create a place employees look forward to coming to each day. Provide fresh fruit and snacks for them as well as a separate ‘quiet area’ where they can go if they need to concentrate especially hard or simply take a breather.
You want your office to feel open and friendly, not a place where everyone is just another number.
4. Look out for their wellbeing
This goes further than providing a nice workspace and healthy snacks. Introducing some sort of wellness program or simply a wellness day can be hugely beneficial to your staff. Not only is it good for them physically, it makes them feel valued and cared for.
Mental health is also a big, and growing, issue. If left unchecked, the heightened demands of 21st century life can easily take their toll, leading to depression and burnout. This links back to self-awareness and being observant of each member of staff. If you notice one is down or quiet or withdrawn, make a time to sit down and chat with them.
Also, if they get sick, don’t make them feel like they can’t take a day or two off to recover.
5. Get out of your office
While it’s important to maintain your authority in a company, don’t be the ‘boss’ who sits in his or her office all day. Don’t make your office a place that staff are scared to approach.
The easiest way to prevent this is to get out of your office a few times a day. Be seen. Move among the staff and let them know you’re not out to check whether they’re working hard enough but rather to see how they’re doing as individuals.
Being among your staff might also prompt a conversation or idea that might only have come up in a time-wasting meeting or email exchange. Getting off your chair and doing some rounds will also refresh your mind and get your heart pumping.