Good Leadership: The Key Ingredient for Creating a Positive Workplace

Are employees more motivated and productive when they are happy, or unhappy? Stupid question, right? Although it seems obvious that happy employees are better employees, it’s easy for bosses to lose sight of this fact. If you supervise or manage people in any way, it might be time to power down and reboot your approach to leadership. Sure, you may have good intentions, but the day-to-day drudgery and other work pressures can easily cause you to drift off course. Just remember: you are the leader, you set the tone, and you can right the ship. Overall happiness and satisfaction in the workplace is largely the byproduct of great leadership. Here are three basic things a good leader should remember every day.

Practice your skills

Larry Bird, at the height of his game, still practiced shooting every day. Just because you have reached a certain level of mastery doesn’t mean you’re done trying, and earning, and caring. If you don’t consciously employ good management skills every day, you will forget them. Get back to basics. The first time you ever had to do a personnel review you probably prepared yourself well, and relied on your management training: offer positive points, identify areas to improve, set realistic and measurable goals, end on a positive note, etc. The 500th personnel review should be approached with the same level of preparation and thought. Don’t get complacent. As you learn to deal with different personalities, you can adjust your approach accordingly, but core management skills will remain the same: be constructive, be consistent, and be fair.

There is no task that is beneath you

Even the Queen of England walks her own dogs. Don’t let that “World’s Best Boss” mug go to your head – it doesn’t mean you’re above everyone, and your employees will suspect you bought it for yourself, anyway. You must be relatable and approachable on some level, or you’re just sipping from a steaming cup of lies. I know corporate executives who happily take their turn tidying the break room, or stuffing envelopes to help meet a deadline. These are leaders that earn the esteem of employees by rolling up their sleeves and working side-by-side with them. Here’s the paradox: climbing down from your pedestal often results in people looking up to you. If you think that pitching in on menial tasks will undermine your authority, you’re dead wrong. Just because you have a better title or a bigger office, doesn’t mean your presence on this planet is more important. It’s hard to have a positive attitude when you constantly feel inferior, so show your employees that everyone is valued equally, and everyone matters.

Be the worker you want your employees to be

Lead by example, it’s that simple. If you expect your employees to be on time, then you should be on time. If you want them to meet their deadlines, then you need to meet your deadlines. It comes down to mutual respect. How many times does Aretha Franklin need to scream it at us? R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Employees cannot respect a boss who reads the newspaper at her desk all day, then criticizes them for not being productive enough. Demonstrate to them what a good employee is by being one. Here’s a one-word hint on how to convey respect: Listen. Whatever amount of talking you’re doing, eliminate half of it and replace it with asking questions and listening to the answers. Everyone wants to feel heard. In a related topic: yelling is unacceptable. Period. Unless you’re a toddler, or on a reality TV show, or a toddler on a reality TV show, stop screaming. It’s unprofessional.

Putting these common-sense rules into practice is fairly easy. Recite them every morning, put them on a mug if you have to, but be sure to incorporate them into your everyday routine. Making these simple changes is a vital step in creating and maintaining a positive workplace. It might even earn you a “World’s Best Boss” mug, for real.

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