In today’s marketplace, there’s no room for “rogue” operations or any one individual insisting on going it alone. The challenges and demands facing businesses require a culture of open and productive relationships between the CEO or business owner and their team. Without this critical element, there’s too much risk that key initiatives and other important projects will languish, fail to meet completion, and/or cause further splinters within the organization.
So, what’s necessary to cultivate a stronger relationship with your team? Keep these tips in mind:
Honesty and transparency from the top down go a long way towards inspiring employees to act together. Forbes advises business leaders to “exude patience, curiosity, interest and civility.” Setting this kind of example “will help inform the way your employees, members or volunteers interact with each other,” leading to more effective collaboration.
Make sure the company’s mission and goals are understood.
It may seem obvious that employees fully comprehend what your business is all about and where it’s headed. But if you took a random survey among employees concerning these two basic elements, what are the chances that results would come back with 100% alignment?
If there’s any suspicion that employees don’t get the big picture, you should do everything in your power to fix the situation. Through an ongoing series of all-staff meetings, email messages, and one-on-one conversations, emphasize the value each employee brings to the organization, and how their individual contributions lead to a stronger organization overall.
An additional benefit of this effort lies in the closer ties you’ll make with employees, as you (or your designated internal representative) learn more about the challenges and obstacles they face—and what you and your senior executive team can do to alleviate those challenges.
One reason many employees don’t feel connected to their leaders is the sense they have that no one at the top acknowledges an error in leadership (if and when they occur). Instead, they feel that blame for organizational missteps always centers on a department manager or (worse) an individual employee. They don’t understand how the CEO or business leader claims to be responsible for the company’s well-being but appear to assign blame to others when mistakes occur.
An uncertain leader “may be afraid of looking weak, but not admitting their mistake makes them look worse and costs them respect,” notes Inc. On the other hand, acknowledging when your call turns out to be less than hoped for “earns you the respect of those you lead and makes your leadership human.”
And being human is something every employee can relate to.
Yes, you’re very busy and your job is extremely demanding. But isn’t a stronger relationship with employees a top priority? Avoid the temptation to cut yourself off from those who work for and with you. Don’t set an example of inaccessibility for others on your management team to emulate. Find time in your schedule to meet individually with key employees, or consider an open-door policy with selected times when employees can meet with you to discuss operational challenges or offer creative solutions to pressing issues.
Enhance your one-on-one skills.
Some business leaders thrive in personal communications, while others shun the experience whenever possible. As noted, one-on-one conversations can strengthen ties with your employees, so it’s imperative to become more adept at high-level communications—such as active listening and paying attention to non-verbal cues—and becoming more concise in your presentation. Your employees are smart. They’ll get what you have to say, as long as you do so in a clear, succinct manner.
Want to learn more about strengthening employee relationships? Download our free TAB whitepaper, “How to Effectively Use Incentives to Motivate Your Employees.”