If you think managing and leading your team towards the success of your company is your only responsibility then you are mistaken. The role of a real leader also includes finding ways to support their employees on different levels. And with how fast and intense the world and workplace has become, it is more important than ever before to learn how to provide your employees with the support they need.
Here are 10 ways you can better support your employees:
1. Drop the “Customers Are Always Right” Myth
I remember during one of my conversations with the head of my department, I brought up the well known phrase of “customers are always right” and she was quick to disagree. In fact, she told me that she does not always believe it and that customers can be in the wrong. This made me realize how toxic the concept of the customer being right all the time can be and how much stress it can put on employees. Using this phrase to justify a customer’s bad behavior can actually make employees feel like they are not supported and result in resentment and demotivation.
Not only that, but it can also give customers an upperhand in which they abuse their rights with employees and create strained business relations. The reality of it is that the wellbeing and happiness of your employees should be a priority that should not be overlooked easily.
“You can't treat your employees like serfs. You have to value them ... If they think that you won't support them when a customer is out of line, even the smallest problem can cause resentment.” - Gordon Bethune, American Business Leader
2. Recognize and appreciate their efforts
One of the many things that employees seem to overlook is how important it is to vocally recognize and appreciate the efforts of their employees. When an employee gets a difficult task done or even seems to be trying their best, offering them a little recognition can go a long way in motivating them to keep working on themselves and growing. In fact, studies have shown that even a little bit of recognition can help increase employees’ productivity and leave them feeling valued, motivated and more loyal to the organization.
3. Provide constructive feedback
When an employer takes the time and effort to sit with their employee and direct them towards what they have to work on, employees will feel seen and heard. By telling your employees what their strengths and weaknesses are, you are telling them that you care about their personal growth and development.
4. Receive feedback
Receiving feedback is just as important as giving it, and this is something many managers seem to resist. It is important to have an open mind and make sure you take into consideration what your employees are conveying. Not only is taking feedback from your employees important for their wellbeing and comfort, but it can also benefit the company as a whole. Employee feedback can help employers know how employees view the organization and where improvements can be made.
5. Make clear transparent communication the norm
A huge part of giving and receiving feedback and how open everyone is about it goes back to the workplace culture. Nurturing open communication can help employees be more comfortable sharing their concerns and performances. What open and transparent communication does is give employees a message that they are heard and that their opinion matters. In addition, when open and transparent communication is part of the company culture, employees will also be more likely able to act as a team and share their ideas on how the company can grow.
6. Offer flexibility
We can all agree that the pandemic has changed the way we work. And while it was challenging for many to accommodate these changes, it did bring with it the reality that work can be done in a more flexible manner. By giving room for your employees to structure their own working day, you are telling them you believe in them and their ability to deliver. When employees are not offered day-to-day flexibility, they can feel overwhelmed and stressed trying to catch up on everything.
7. Support their career development
Leaders have a responsibility to support their employees’ career development in which training and courses should continuously be offered. Furthermore, it is quite pivotal for employees to see what things will look like for them at their company a couple of years down the line. That is why it is instrumental for employers to be open about the available career growth opportunities and where the company as a whole is heading.
8. Be empathetic
A key attribute of any leader and healthy workplace culture is empathy. Listening to your employees and trying to understand where they are coming from can go a long way. This way your employees will feel heard and seen, and thus they will feel more motivated to give back and work to the best of their abilities. By being empathetic, employees will feel supported, less alone and that they belong.
9. Prioritize mental health and wellbeing
Companies and businesses across the globe are beginning to become more aware of the importance of promoting mental health and wellbeing at the workplace. The reality of things is that no one can be productive and able to deliver if they do not feel safe, comfortable and healthy. Whether it is physical or mental, as an employer it is your duty to make sure your employees are healthy. Granting them mental health days can be a great way to show them they have your support and that their wellbeing is a priority. Being open and transparent about a taboo topic like mental health can also create an aura of trust and vulnerability that will make employees feel safe and thus more motivated to give back.
10. Support work-life balance
In a time when working long hours and hustling have become the norm, the line between professional and personal lives tend to get blurred. And while working hard is great, it can lead to burnout which in return has a negative impact on both employees and the business as a whole. That is precisely why employers have to step in and reinforce the importance of having a healthy work/life balance. Employers need to normalize the idea that it is not allowed for employees to work over the weekend. In fact, a law in France actually bans work during the weekend, which shows how important it is to lead a healthy balanced life.
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