Every year, we make New Years resolutions that usually fall by the wayside come February. That's because most resolutions take levels of commitment that many people are unable to make. That's why I'm going to suggest that you commit to working on only three things this year, instead of a dozen. Here's where to begin:
Listen intently to your employees. In a recent study conducted by talent management expert DDI, fewer than 40 percent of employees who responded felt motivated by their supervisor to give their best effort. Much of the dissatisfaction stems from supervisors' unwillingness to listen to their employees. Thirty-five percent of the surveyed workers said their boss never, or only sometimes, listens to their work-related concerns.
It's the "intently" part that most leaders haven't mastered. Sorry, but texting while listening doesn't quite fall into this category. Instead, try putting your device in your pocket, looking the employee in the eye and engaging in the conversation. You'll be amazed by what you hear.
Solicit input from those in the know. The people in the know are usually those who are closest to the customer. However, their opinions are rarely sought. Before you change a feature that is working beautifully for your customers you may want to pay a visit to your front-line people. And while you are at it, don't forget to solicit input from those who will be responsible for carrying out your orders.
Everyone likes to feel valued. And asking for people's advice goes a long way towards making people feel like they truly do make a difference. This holds true especially with today's younger workers who prefer to work in organizations where collaboration is the rule, rather than the exception.
Leave your ego at home. Everyone who needs to know understands you're the boss. Most would appreciate it if you would stop reminding them on a daily basis that you call the shots. Courtesy, honesty, respect and tact go a long way towards building a relationship worth keeping. This is an area where many of my coaching clients are working diligently to improve. But the good news is that when they do, the results are immediate and quite sustainable.
I doubt there is anything on this list that you haven't considered before. Changing behavior requires commitment and practice. Find a trusted adviser or a mentor who can hold up the mirror for you to see exactly how others perceive you.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Matuson Consulting and author of the forthcoming, The Magnetic Workplace (Nicholas Brealey, 2013) and the highly acclaimed book Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, a Washington Post Top-5 Leadership pick. Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta’s monthly newsletter, Talent Maximizer.
[Image: Flickr user Kit]