Written by: Santarvis Brown, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Long gone are the days of a supervisor or manager standing over an employee’s shoulders pressuring that employee to work harder. Well, let’s hope that’s the case. There has been a big push in recent years to train and master the practice of the empowered leader.
An empowered leader is someone who has the ability to get the most out of their employees while also reducing their employees’ stress. An empowered leader realizes that efficiency comes from the top. And I don’t mean being an efficient leader will make your employees efficient. Although it might. What I mean by efficiency comes from the top is that an empowered leader provides the support systems, tools, and well-trained workforce that learns to work as a team.
As an empowered leader, there are times when your leadership and effort will be challenged. I am not talking about a challenging employee or a single situation. I am talking about a real challenge such as the uncertainty of your company being bought by another company. I am talking about large layoffs. I am talking about a product release with major defects. When the world is running smoothly and without challenge, it’s easy to think we are amazing leaders. However, it is during times of struggle that we can truly define our skills as empowered leaders. And how do you help your team stay at their best in difficult times? You help your team feel comfortable.
Here are five ways to help your employees feel comfortable in un-comfortability.
Encourage Open Communication: Open communication builds trust with employees and shows that you care. Stay open to suggestions for improvement or lend an ear when an employee needs someone to talk to. Like everything else, communication is the key to success.
Praise your employees regularly: I remember a supervisor I once had who carried a book of Post – It is with her. Whenever she saw someone go above and beyond, she would write a short thank-you note to that person. To this day I feel it was one of the best ways to keep morale at a high.
Offer Privacy: Not everyone loves their leader hanging around. In fact, even with a positive disposition, you can seem like you are hovering too much. Give your employees the freedom to work on their own. Some need this more than others, so try to pick up on the cues.
Create a location for people to offer anonymous suggestions and make sure you regularly review the suggestions. Added plus is praising those suggestions publicly. Often someone is hesitant to make a suggestion for fear of criticism. Praising an idea, even anonymous, may encourage employees to be more responsive to offering new ideas.
Adapt a homestyle workplace if possible: A homestyle workplace means providing comfort by bringing home to work. Monthly potlucks are a great way to bring employees together. Casual dress days and some workplaces take time out to share things such as their hobbies and interests.
Helping employees feel comfortable in un-comfortability is essential when building a team that needs to manage work in the easy and challenging times. Take a moment to reflect on an uncomfortable period in your work life and what could have helped you feel comfortable.
Santarvis Brown, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Santarvis Brown has spent 15+ years serving as a leader, innovator, and changemaker in education, showcasing in-depth insight as an administrator, educator, and program director. A noted speaker, researcher, and full professor, he has lent his speaking talent to many community and educational forums, serving as a keynote speaker. He has also penned several publications tackling issues in civic service, faith, leadership, and education.