The first and fundamental trait of a great leader is to put your employees ahead of yourself. This can take many forms. The easiest way to explain it is, when you leave for vacation what happens? Work continues. When your employees leave on vacation what happens? Work slows down or stops. Of course this doesn’t take into account when your employees have back-ups to handle the fundamentals of their job but you get the picture I am trying to make.
I see people in leadership positions all the time who are looking out for themselves. They are often looking for their next advancement rather than focusing on advancing those they lead. What they often don’t realize is that when they advance someone under them, this helps to advance them. Organizations realize that someone who can develop leaders is an asset.
Realizing that our employee’s work is what ultimately leads to our team, department or organizations success will help to ensure that you approach your employees with appreciation and understanding for the challenges they face. You must demonstrate that understanding to your staff.
For example, I was holding a kick-off meeting for my staff. The meeting came about because we were merging two groups together due to a recent closing of one of our operations sites. The event was designed to be fun, provide an opportunity for the groups to meet and bond with each other and to occasionally slip in expectations and processes that they will now be held to. During the event there was a malfunction with a water machine. I could have easily asked one of the staff to clean it up, instead I took the lead, got a mop and proceed to clean up the mess. After the meeting, I participated in the overall clean-up. This demonstration of pitching in and helping out goes a long way in their eyes. It also shows them that I am not above doing their job.
As leaders we want to take advantage of the efforts of our employees. We need to show them that we are attentive to their needs and the challenges they face in doing their job and meeting the demands we place on them. They must clearly see that we are willing to address those challenges for them and that doing so it our top priority.
More Actionable Advice:
Latest posts by Jason Cortel (see all)
- A Better Way to Have a Difficult Conversation - June 13, 2015
- Add These Tips from Grandma to Your Leadership Tool Kit - May 30, 2015
- Tuesday Tip: Start the Day with Clarity - May 26, 2015