True leaders are hard to come by. And in a time when people are becoming more aware of burnout and toxic work cultures, it is more important than ever before for leaders to know how to support their employees and help them live up to their full potential.
Many of us have come across posts highlighting that employees quit “bad managers” and not “bad jobs”. This had me thinking about how a manager that does not know how to lift employees and instead demotivates and burns them out can cause a business to lose good talent. In fact, one report states that 57% of unhappy employees end up quitting because of their managers.
That is more than half of unhappy employees!
And if you ask me this number is scary, because it shows that there might be a significant gap in the business world when it comes to true leadership. Without the right kind of support and leadership, employees might end up underperforming, causing both employees and the business to suffer. Therefore, it is imperative that those in leadership and management positions learn how to better support their employees and help them succeed.
Here are 7 ways leaders can help employees live up to their full potential:
1. Communicate openly
An important part of ensuring that employees feel comfortable in their workplace is having a two-way communication channel. When leaders communicate openly with their team and vocalize that they are open to listening helps employees have faith in their leader and feel like they are supported.
When employees see their leaders communicating openly, they are motivated to do the same. This is crucial as open communication among teams increases productivity and creates an overall healthier work atmosphere.
2. Help them grow
Many employees find themselves going through phases where they feel their learning curve is slowing down, and consequently lose motivation. This is particularly prevalent in employees who have worked in the same position for some years.
That is why, as a leader, it is your role to offer training and workshops that will help your team learn new skills and grow. When employees see that leaders care about their professional growth, they will be motivated to perform better.
It is important for employees to see that they are more than just a means to an end. Show them that you care about their own career development and growth, and this way they will work even harder to prove themselves.
3. Recognize and appreciate their work
Contrary to what many might think, sometimes a little bit of recognition and appreciation can go a long way. By recognizing the work of your employees and showing how much you value them, employees will be motivated to give more.
In fact, studies have shown that recognition is linked with better performance, as well as higher engagement. Employees who feel appreciated and seen will be more engaged and thus be more productive and present.
4. Provide a healthy work environment
No one is capable of performing well in a work environment that is unhealthy. Not only that, but a toxic workplace might even push employees to leave. Studies report that a healthy atmosphere increases productivity, satisfaction, and retention, all of which are important prerequisites for any employee to unleash their potential.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that you foster and maintain a healthy environment where employees feel safe, valued, and appreciated.
5. Put your trust in them
Sometimes someone might be a step away from doing great things, and all they need is a little bit of faith and trust. Trusting your employees and showing that you have faith in them and their abilities will speak volumes.
Employees will appreciate it if you take a step back and let them pave their own way. However, in such situations, it is key that you reassure them that you will always have their back, and that you believe in them and what they can do.
6. Fight for them
Over the years, some employees might start to feel like their leaders are not trying to get them promotions or better benefits. Especially when it comes to employees who have been working for several years without seeing any added benefits.
As a leader, it is on you to ensure that all your employees get the compensation they deserve. Because they do not feel like they are valued and appreciated, employees might start to “quietly quit” or even quit for real and move on to a job that provides them with all the support to excel.
We are all humans, and empathizing with one another can help us grow. True leaders know the power that comes with showing empathy and understanding their employees. They know that their employees are not robots, but they are humans with their own challenges.
By treating employees as humans, you are giving them the space to come to you when they need support or help. This way, you can know when your employees need a break and what exactly they need to unleash their potential.
At the end of the day, understanding employees and knowing how they want to be supported is what will help them live up to their full potential.