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Image by: Simon Blackley
By Alexa Hughes
It’s not always easy being the boss at work, you have to remain professional and in charge but also keep the group morale up high. To make it even more complicated, sometimes getting what you want all the time can be discouraging to your employees no matter what’s best for the company. Here are some ways to encourage group effort at work and make sure that you’re really listening to other people’s ideas that are being put on the table.
#1) Praise Effort Not Results
Of course getting results is going to be the most important end goal, but studies have shown that people respond better to positive reinforcement when it comes in regards to the effort that they’re making, not in the results that they get. People tend to feel discouraged if they don’t feel successful or needed during the process, but rather only when they win. Your employees are more likely to give their all when they know you’re behind them every step of the way.
Many people develop a fixed mindset in regards to their talents or brains, so when they don’t feel like they can achieve more than they already have they tend to give up on some level. The same thing can happen when employees are highly criticized for short term failures. Lack of results can automatically be felt as a failure.
Instead cultivate a place where people are praised for their efforts even when there is more work to do, and treat failures as stepping stones so that your employees become comfortable taking chances.
#2) Put Focus on the Purpose
Employees are more likely to feel better about what they’re doing when they feel like their work serves a purpose beyond simply making money. Employees tend to have more respect for leaders at work who take a more global and community oriented approach to their business.
#3) Emphasize Learning
Nothing brings down the morale of a group of employees than being scolded day in and day out. If you can place more of an emphasis on what can be learned from each downfall and how to avoid it next time, you can usually get better results than simply telling everyone that they do everything wrong. This requires that you not only support your employees, but offer them the tools they need to grow.
#4) Allow for Innovation
It’s great when employees are encouraged to voice their ideas, but it’s also important to give them the opportunity to be innovative. This means allowing them to be part of the plan of putting those ideas into action and to see what comes out of it. They will more creative and motivated when they can be involved in their ideas as opposed to handing them off to someone else who will carry them out.
#5) Hold Everyone Equally Accountable
When you’re the boss you can basically do what you want, but if you have friends in the workplace you need to make sure and hold them equally accountable as the rest of your employees so no one gets bitter or jealous. It’s fair to treat everyone’s ideas with equal respect and also to take equal action when they’re not performing at a high enough standard.
#6) Don’t Let Emotions Get the Best of You
When you’re dealing with a group of employees you’re likely to get some emotional outbursts from time to time. Avoid being swayed as the sensitive person that you are and always hold your ground to your standards so that the group understands what is appropriate behavior and what isn’t.
#7) Go Beyond Accountability
It’s wonderful when your team is on point because they feel accountable to you and the company, but you should also go beyond that and give them some sense of ownership where it is important. Allow someone to run a team project and truly give them the supported freedom to do so. Have meetings to check in on their process and give them credit where credit is due.
#8) Encourage Personal Growth
Your team is not just a group frozen in time that will be available to remain in their same positions forever. Instead of assuming so, you should put an emphasize on personal growth. Organize opportunities for people to network, be exposed to new things, and try to focus on their individual strengths and weaknesses to see where you could be a personal support system. Some bosses even do things like choose individual books for each employee to read based on where they are and where they have the potential to go.
#9) Communicate Efficiently
As the boss you need to make sure that you are always effectively communicating what you expect from your employees. Their freedom to explore is important to consider but there are also goals and timelines to be met. You should also communicate any changes that might be occurring in the workplace whether they are good or bad, scheduling or hiring, etc.
#10) Trust Your Employees
If you truly don’t trust an employee from the start, you might question your own motives in keeping them around. People are more likely to feel comfortable enough to carry out duties to the best of their ability when they feel trusted. Of course there will also be the accountability factor as there should be, but they shouldn’t feel like someone is waiting in the shadows to catch them doing something wrong at any given moment.
Do you have experience dealing with the challenges of being the boss? Could any of these concepts be implemented into your business plan to allow for a more harmonious workplace?