Someone once said that, ‘a good leader inspires others with confidence in him or her, a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves.’ The influence of a positive leader spreads through an organisation like a field of flowers coming into bloom all at once, building trust, collaboration and mutual respect. If we’re lucky, we get to experience that once in our working lives. Unfortunately, the opposite is too often the case, with workers wilting or trodden under foot.
So how can you become a more positive leader? Here are some tips.
1. Take your workers seriously
It all begins and ends with communication. While email, intranet and social media are fast and efficient and give the illusion of personal connectivity, being present, looking people in the eye, demonstrating that you understand their needs and are interested in their development, are all more powerful. Show your workers that you have faith in their abilities. Don’t micromanage their time, but allow them to have creative freedom to be their best.
2. Encourage people to talk
The values, beliefs, traditions and underlying assumptions that define workplace culture play an important role in predicting and preventing inappropriate behaviour. A positive leader will work on building a culture of openness and transparency by encouraging everyone’s contribution. Good managers don’t hide away in offices but are available to talk as well as actively listen to what people are saying. Creating formal and informal opportunities to communicate encourages a sense of collaboration and shared endeavour. Workers often just need to feel that they have a voice and that their views are respected.
3. Build positive, productive relationships
Forward thinking businesses are grasping that trust and respect, even more than salary, is what drives people to succeed individually and collectively. To build trust, you should be prepared to reveal your real self to your co-workers. This doesn’t mean sharing every detail of your personal life, but showing that you are human and don’t have all the answers makes you an authentic and approachable leader. Equally, great leaders don’t view employees as numbers on a spreadsheet, but as individuals who all bring different skills and talents to the table. This recognition of your workers’ value, regardless of rank and status in the organisation, strengthens teams and underlines shared goals.
4. Be the change you want to see
Workplaces can be stressful environments. Instead of seeing failures or criticism as something personal or negative, leaders need to demonstrate that it’s an opportunity to improve.
Showing support to workers by celebrating victories both large and small, and motivating people through positive messages and imagery will build resilience. Taking steps to make the workplace diverse and inclusive is in your hands. Employing people from different backgrounds, perspectives and ideas that challenge established thinking, including your own, sends a strong message – as well as being a defining characteristic of successful businesses.
Research shows that by practising developing a positive mindset, over time you can develop individual resiliency. By building this attitude in yourself it becomes easier to role model how employees should behave and relate to each other during adversity. A positive attitude at the top, tends to trickle down through your workers.
5. Don’t be a bystander
We know that workplace bullying and harassment causes serious harm to worker health and organisations and it is on the increase with more people reporting harassment than ever before. Stay close to your workers, observe and don’t wait until events reach crisis point before you act. It’s vital for leaders to act quickly to address problems of bullying and harassment. The more that leaders role model core values of respect, kindness and tolerance towards workers, the more likely it is that their positive influence will permeate throughout the organisation and be copied. Workers look to leaders, particularly in times of difficulty, how you respond to adversity is even more important than cheerleading during the good times.
Managing Fairly and Equitably
As a manager, you have an obligation to your organisation and your workers to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with respect.
The courses in our suite, Managing Fairly and Equitably, provides managers and executives with an understanding of how to mitigate the risk of adverse legal action and how to respond appropriately to allegations of bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination in their organisation.