The challenges we have faced the last two years have changed a lot of our working habits and the entire concept of onsite work. Now more than ever, we need to lead by serving.
Here are eight skills every leader should master in order to thrive.
The humanization of a brand is a long process that has to do with the business’ relationship with its own customers. As a leader, you need to understand how the humans coming into your business perceive you and those who represent the company you run. I’ve always focused on humanizing myself, my team, and my brand so that the community we serve has a genuine connection and understanding to the brand itself. By allowing my teams to add their own inputs, make suggestions and, above all of us, be themselves, I’ve found that the humans who come into my business can tell the difference between our brand and others. If leaders allow their team to feel heard and embraced, it will shine through to the community they serve.
2. SERVICE ATTITUDE
We’ve all had an awkward encounter with an employee who’s having a difficult day. While we can all empathize with this, focusing your team on service attitude is ultimately a very crucial step as a leader. Work with your team one-on-one, reminding them of how your business operates and how you choose to serve your community. Leaders lead by example. Show your team how to interact with clients and give them examples. Allow your team to try new things in line with your vision, and make compromises. Your team’s service attitude will not be an issue if you work hard to cultivate an environment where your team is as excited as you are to take on whatever challenges the day may bring.
3. LEAD YOUR LEADERS
Work one-on-one with your leaders. Ask them what they’ve been seeing, if there’s anything they need support with. As an owner of a business, the leaders I choose to put in power are an extension of me. It’s crucial to work with them closely on their approaches, strategies, and tactics. The work my leaders do reverberates throughout the entire company. Taking the time to make sure you are on the same page as your leaders will always be helpful to a company. It gives us the opportunity to discuss, change, and impact without anyone feeling left out or unsupported. If I support my leaders, they will support their teams.
4. DISCOVER AND BUILD THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW
As a company owner, there is truly nothing more exciting and empowering than promoting members of my team from within. I’ve made it a personal mission of mine to surround myself and my company with the type of people I want to be around. As a result, when I hire someone, I am not filling an open space on a roster, I am (hopefully) hiring the next leader on my team. By maintaining an open and close relationship with all of my teams, the lines of communication are open enough on both sides that I am able to track progress and see which members of my team are ready for the next step.
5. TAKE CARE OF EMPLOYEE WELL-BEING
As a leader, you become an important part of your team’s day-to-day life. While your relationship with them may only be professional, the amount of time spent together means that your team will inevitably look to you for support and reassurance. Being open with your team, and available to them in times of stress and sickness, will improve your relationship with them and further dedicate the team member to your company. As an owner, I’ve always reminded myself that the humans who come to work with me every day chose my company. I’ve dedicated myself to looking out for them in every way possible, be it emotionally or physically.
There is nothing better than a team that can laugh together. As long as no one human is being singled out or laughed at, I am always a proponent of a lighthearted work environment. Just like any team, we all have a way of forming our own language—inside jokes and other fun that makes the time move by quickly. As long as everyone remains focused on productivity and sales, I’ve never found any harm in laughing along with my team. (No making fun of me, though.)
The possible downside of having a very close-knit team is getting everyone to focus and stay on task. Now more than ever, keeping teams on task will drive the productivity of a business struggling through uncertain times. As a leader, I have always stressed that my team put 100% of their effort into whatever they are doing at that one particular moment. In order to lead by example, I must demonstrate this focus in my own work so that my team can follow my lead.
8. SOCIAL MEDIA
As we all know, it’s crucial for businesses to make a mark on social media. That means being mindful of new approaches to social media marketing. Social media gives business owners the power to advertise their work without having to adhere to the pitfalls of the typical advertising campaign. My company does not pay for advertising; we focus all our time on sharing our social media profiles with our online communities. This keeps our customers up to date and our shops community-based.
Stay hungry and be ready to conquer more than you ever imagined, but please remember that together is better. Lead by leading!
Brandon Pena is the CEO of 787 Coffee & BrandON Media, an award-winning social media marketer with a focus in the humanization of brands.