It is pretty safe to assume that every leader in an organization wants their employees to be working in a respectful and trusting environment that fosters a positive flow of communications. Here are some tips for leaders to use that can help create such an environment:

  1. Understand the impact of your behaviour on others (not the intent of it)– as a leader everything you do creates an impression. Knowing this will help you understand the needs of your employees and send the message from the top that respect is important to the organization. For example, repeatedly being late for meetings can be seen as not respecting the time of your employees.
  2. Encourage employees to use their initiative (and mean it)– one of the biggest complaints employees have about their leaders is that there is a disconnect between being told to use their initiative and actually being allowed to do it. This is often referred to as “micro-management” and while it does have a purpose in some situations, when it is used in place of strong leadership, it stifles creativity and initiative and ultimately tells the employee that they cannot be trusted.
  3. Promote honest and open dialogue (not just an “open door” policy)– by creating a space for employees to engage in honest and open dialogue with their leaders, they will be more likely to model this behavior with each other which will foster a more positive culture. This could be having short weekly or monthly coffee meetings with different employees.
  4. Earn the right to lead (more than “do as I say”)– do not assume that because you hold the formal title of a leader that people will blindly follow you. Leaders are constantly being tested by employees to see if they can be trusted and respected. If you make a mistake, step up and admit it and you will earn the respect of employees.

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