It’s certainly been a turbulent year, with varying levels of global, political and continued technological disruptions shaking organizations to the core. In this fast-changing business environment, workforces need strong leaders more than ever, but for leaders who are as perplexed as their workforces, it can often be a struggle to find a strong footing for stable leadership.
As businesses approach another year of uncertainty and prepare to hit the ground running, leaders should consider these four resolutions to help make 2018 a resounding success for themselves and their employees.
Don’t Just Talk; Listen.
It’s all too easy to come up with your own exciting action plans for achieving business objectives, and it’s just as easy to present those plans of action to your team or wider organization and expect them to feel as enthusiastic as you are. However, effective leaders must place themselves in the shoes of those they’re leading, because they will also have valuable ideas or concerns about the path that is being chosen for them.
Asking employees questions and involving them in decision-making is a great way to drive employee engagement and increase their feelings of value while sourcing a wider range of possible solutions from which you can form the best strategy.
Don’t Just Listen; Act.
Listening to your employees is certainly an effective way to make them feel valued, but listening is only half of the job. Wherever necessary, leaders should act to address thoughts and concerns and, just as importantly, to implement good ideas. Not only does this help to maximize employee satisfaction levels, but it’s also likely to have a positive impact on individual performance and the achievement of business objectives.
Leaders balancing countless responsibilities can easily miss simple things that could make big differences when addressed properly. Think of the workforce as your sounding board, and don’t be afraid to act on their suggestions or to reward those who put them forward. Otherwise, listening could easily perceived as an empty gesture.
Invest in Training and Development.
With 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, today’s organizations are quickly becoming dominated by millennials, who are notorious for their high expectations. Successful leaders must put every effort into understanding their workforce in order to achieve the best from them, and there are many studies that provide helpful insights for people leading millennials.
According to a recent PwC study, 52 percent of millennials say that the opportunity for career progression is the most desirable quality in a workplace, placing it above competitive wages and financial incentives (44 percent). The same study found that 35 percent of millennials prefer to be employed by organizations that offer good training and development programs, while a study by the Human Resources Professionals Association reports that 63 percent of millennials feel their leadership skills are not being developed.
Recognizing where training is required and developing successful training programs will strengthen your workforce and improve employee retention.
Communicate the Value of the Human Workforce.
If the newspaper headlines are to be believed, the rise of robots in the workplace has caused a furor, but what do the studies tell us? The PwC study asked about the anxieties over technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation. Seventy-three percent of respondents don’t believe that technology can replace the human mind.
Effective leaders must ease the anxieties of their employees by communicating what we know to be true: While some workplaces may be using robots in the place of the human to undertake more mundane tasks, technology simply cannot match soft skills such as sales and communication, and these areas are where employees can continue to excel.
Strong leadership requires certain skills and behaviors that leaders don’t always have or don’t always have the confidence to use. Investing in leadership training that is tailored to the business and its specific requirements will ensure that leaders are truly fit to lead and that the employees looking to them for guidance are in great hands.