Leadership is a sacred responsibility. The need to engage, inspire and lead is essential to the success of your organization. Allowing mistakes, declining revenues or high turnover to go unnoticed is a sign that you are failing as a leader.

By accepting a position of leadership in your organization, you’re making a promise to your employees that you will develop them, give them enriching work, encourage growth and provide opportunities. A company with declining revenues year after year that doesn’t go through a change in leadership is failing its workers. By ignoring the need to create and facilitate growth through leadership, a company may very well put itself on the path to failure.

There is a circle in business: To provide growth and leadership opportunities, you must grow your revenue. To grow your revenue, you must have a leadership team who inspires hard work, innovation and dedication. If your circle is broken and your revenues are declining, don’t look to your workers to find out why. Look to your leadership. Inspiration, encouragement and growth must come from the top down and must be ingrained in your company culture.

Examining how you carry yourself as a leader is an important first step to take. Lead by example, show a solid work ethic, coach, meet one-on-one with team members, really listen and understand each role and person, and be hands-on in mentoring. Show that your door is, literally, always open. One of the worst things a leader can do is hide in the corner office, door closed, blaming employees for declining revenue and high turnover.

As a leader, you must deal with the good and the bad and be willing to say goodbye to things (or people) that aren’t working. You must also be willing to allow your employees to shine. Try a few of these tips if it’s within your budget and timeline:

  • Promote someone who excels, not only to reward his or her work but also to show others that hard work does pay off.
  • Give a stellar review with constructive criticism that’s achievable and measurable (and then check in on their progress).
  • Schedule one-on-one meetings, and ask for feedback how you are doing as a leader (and listen!).
  • Take a class on leadership; the skill isn’t necessarily inherent, and we are in the learning and development world!
  • Offer a bonus gift card or bottle of wine when you see someone make it through a tough week.
  • If there’s someone bringing the group down with subpar work or a bad attitude, have the tough conversation with them, even if it leads to dismissal. You’ll demonstrate that the good of the group is the priority.

These are great ways to enforce that you believe in empowerment as a business asset. A good leader will promote an environment in which people are encouraged to act and think like leaders in whatever their role is.

If you are in a position of leadership, understand the distinction between managing and leading. Management is about the process and procedure. It’s important, but it’s not the whole picture. When you lead a group of people, you need to engage and inspire them to be the best they can be.

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