I’ve seen many discussions around leading staff and the idea of ‘loving’ them. This is simple and true – but it requires commitment and some strategy to deliver business value. The fact is, as a leader, there are three things we need to do around this idea of loving them.
First, we need to paint the picture – give people a clear view of what the business will be in the future and what our success will look like. This requires having confidence that the business will get there even when the vision is masked at times by the every day ‘hurly burly’. It seems the more we can paint this picture, the more we can bring that future to life with passion and emotion and, in turn, the more we can engage our people in where we are going. After all, it is our staff that will discover the best ‘how’ and create the pathway. Your job – paint the vision.
Second, is back to that idea of loving them. I know, I know…as a boss/entrepreneurial driver it is all too easy to pick fault, be overtly critical or just be thinking about all the little things they could do better. “For heaven’s sake, I learnt how to do that quickly so why haven’t you. If you do it this way, you will get a better outcome.” Sound familiar? Leaders need to fight the urge to tell people how to do something – and resist assuming it equals providing them with insight. Ever wondered why someone else’s ideas never seemed as good as your own? Staff are growing, evolving parts of our business. They need to learn themselves (even with some guidance) to find their own way to improve. It’s more satisfying for them and more sustainable for the business. Loving them means creating reasonable space for that process to take place and giving people recognition and belonging along the way. If you can provide that, it follows that people will likely want to continue contributing to the vision and going on the journey with you. Have you told your people how much they are contributing to the overall success of your business? Regularly?
Third, once you’ve mastered the above, you need to make sure you get a return – whether financial or otherwise. People generally want to work for a successful entity, but they don’t always want to overtly drive that commercial success. You need to be the catalyst to create that success. What are your goals around driving and developing the business? Is it to grow and provide its services or products to others or simply to leave a legacy? Do your people know what you’re striving for?
Creating an environment where people feel loved and valued is all well and good…but it needs vision at the start and accountability at the ‘end’ in order to have real value and meaning for your business.