In business, it’s common to assume that being an effective boss means being an exacting taskmaster. But we know that the best leaders are loved by employees. In fact, being liked might be the most effective way to get things done in the long term.
So how do you win over your workforce while remaining an effective leader?
Even in difficult situations, it is sometimes possible to make important things happen while still creating workplace friendships. It requires a kind heart, an open mind, and the right social skills.
When you must have an uncomfortable conversation with someone, instead of avoiding it or approaching it emotionally, use your skills to make the situation a learning experience. If you’re unhappy with the performance of a worker, instead of speaking to them in anger, try using kindness. Show you care about their performance and work with them to identify possible avenues for improvement. By offering to work with them, you make your employee feel supported and respected.
Lead with Compassion
Compassion is a mental state endowed with a sense of concern for the suffering of others and aspiration to see that suffering relieved. The most compelling benefit of compassion in the context of work is that compassion creates highly effective leaders.
So how do you become a compassionate leader? The practice of compassion is about going from self to others. In a way, compassion is about going from I to We. These are leaders who, in addition to being highly capable, also possess a paradoxical mix of two important and seemingly conflicting qualities: great ambition and personal humility.
These leaders are highly ambitious, but the focus of their ambition is not themselves; instead, they are ambitious for the greater good. Because their attention is focused on the greater good, they feel no need to inflate their own egos. That makes them highly effective and inspiring.
So instead of focusing on how your team makes you look, focus on how your team can improve as a whole. When you want everyone to succeed, you’ll get better results.
Compliment with Confidence
When your workers do a great job, it’s natural to want to praise their talents. But studies have shown that the phrasing of the compliment is just as important as the compliment itself.
If your team does a wonderful job on a presentation, instead of telling them they did a great job, tell them that you can see how hard they worked to put together a fantastic presentation. When you acknowledge the work your team puts into a project, it lets them know that you see their hard work and value it. They will feel appreciated and noticed, which is a greater motivator than a simple good job.
So when you want to hone your leadership skills in the office, remember that there are benefits to benevolence. By making your group a cohesive and caring unit, you’ll find productivity will increase.