The responsibility of a true leader extends beyond just meeting goals and elevating the business, because it also includes influencing employee performance. In fact, studies have shown that leaders play a pivotal role in improving the performance of their employees.
Leaders are meant to lead their team towards their own personal success and that of the business. However, when leaders fail to motivate their employees and create a safe environment for them to work and grow, top talent is lost and businesses do not benefit. That is why it is imperative that leaders understand that their attitude, actions, and words can either inspire or completely devastate employees.
Here are 8 ways that leadership influences employee performance:
1. Being empathetic
Understanding that we are all human with our own set of struggles and ambitions can go a long way. What many employees really want is being seen as more than just workers here to perform a task. Instead, they would rather be seen the way we all want to be seen, as humans with bad and good days.
Being able to understand and empathize with employees in a supportive and realistic manner can help them see that you care about them and their well-being. Not only that, but empathy is one of the main drivers to building trust and honest relationships between you and your team.
It is reported that empathy is even considered to be the most important leadership, and therefore has an impact on employee performance. That is why it is instrumental to practice and preach it in the workplace.
2. Communicating openly
Developing open communication channels between you and your team members can go a long way. When you communicate openly with your team, you are telling them that you are here to listen and exchange ideas. By doing that, employees will feel more comfortable when expressing their feelings and thoughts.
Furthermore, communication creates a sense of collaboration and unity within the team, which can significantly impact the performance of employees and their drive to achieve their goals.
3. Showing trust
Trust is a two way street.
You cannot expect your employees to trust you if you do not show them that you trust them and their work. Showing your employees that you trust them can also make them more confident in their abilities and have faith in themselves as well.
Fostering trust can encourage employees to step up their game and take on more responsibilities.
4. Investing in employees
“You’re only as strong as your weakest member.” - Kelly Rowland
Knowledge is power, and if you fail to invest in your employees then you cannot expect them to improve their performance. The reality of things is that true leadership comes with supporting employees and encouraging them to grow on both a personal and professional level.
By investing in your employees, you are telling them that their success matters to you as much as the success of the business does. Encouraging employees to take on new courses, challenges, and workshops can encourage them to work on themselves and deliver better results.
5. Leading by example
The idea of leading by example is not just about setting the tone of what your employees have to do, but it is also about showing them first hand that it is possible to succeed.
Moreover, leading by example can help employees see how leading professionals act and thus aspire to follow in your footsteps.
6. Offering support
Supporting your employees and giving them a sense of security and team spirit can go a long way. The idea here is to make employees see that you have their back and you are here to support them every step of the way.
Employees care about how you make them feel, and showing them you care and are here to help will help encourage them to perform well. Because in reality, employee performance is directly related to how supported, motivated, and driven you help them feel.
7. Prioritizing employee well-being
Research shows that around two-thirds of full-time employees have experienced burnout throughout their careers. This figure is scary and suggests the need to implement measures to help ease stressful times on employees. It is also reported that 36% of employees say that their organizations do not have any action in place to help manage burnout.
If employees are reaching burnout and are not seeing any kind of support in this matter, how exactly do employers expect them to perform?
Meeting deadlines, engaging customers, and leading the market should never come at the expense of your employees’ wellbeing. One example of true leadership was shown when Mojang Studios decided to delay the release of Caves & Cliffs Update at Minecraft Live due to the difficulties posed by the pandemic and the fact that they will have to push their team to work long hours to meet the deadline. Prioritizing employee performance and showing it can help make employees feel seen and supported.
8. Establishing a positive work environment
I have always believed that working in a positive and supportive environment is one of the most important prerequisites for employees to perform well. If an employee feels like they are stuck in a toxic and stress-inducing workplace, they will not be able to live up to their full potential and perform well.
Ensuring that your team is working in a healthy work environment will also reap great benefits on many levels. Fostering a positive and healthy workplace will boost positive emotions in employees and thus encourage them to be productive.
Ultimately a huge part of good leadership goes down to how you make your employees feel at the end of the day. By encouraging and prioritizing their growth and wellbeing, you are giving them the boost they need to give you their best and even more.
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