As a manager, it can be challenging to maintain your motivation and a high degree of effort. Especially in repetitive work environments – like those in a manufacturing company – where a sense of monotony can cloud your once sharp attitude. As the manager and, more importantly, leader of your team, think of how your workers must feel. You are there to provide them with inspiration and motivation, and if you have lost those yourself, then they most assuredly have as well. You need to provide strong leadership through leading by example, team empowerment, and a positive work environment in order to reinvigorate them and yourself.
Although “managing” and “leading” are similar, the qualities that define them are near polar opposites. The following tips can help you lead and reap the benefits of an engaged, empowered team.
Empower Your Team
Without fuel (electric or gas), vehicles will not function. It’s a simple analogy, but the concept is the same when it comes to your team. If you don’t empower them, they won’t work to their full potential. There are many empowerment strategies, some of which include fear, but leaders use positive, constructive methods. A successful leader will use responsibility, trust, and acknowledgment to fuel their workers because they result in more benefits.
Instead of dictating every move, delegate more responsibility throughout your team so they are truly part of the team. Disengaged cogs in a clock uselessly spin and waste energy, so it’s important to engage them within the system. Workers who feel engaged in the company’s future will work with tenacity.
Don’t hide the masterplan or company direction from the team. When your team knows the direction of your leadership, they will work with confidence. Understanding the heading gives everyone a sense of purpose, and discussing it with your team will instill them with trust. Strong leaders trust their team and garner trust in return.
You can also empower through acknowledgment. Provide positive feedback to your team when they do well, and remind them of their value. Even when something goes awry, you can acknowledge the error as a learning opportunity. Recognizing someone’s value will instill them with confidence and purpose which leads to productivity and focus.
Don’t Just Manage – Take the Extra Step and Lead
As mentioned earlier, there is a difference between a leader and a manager. They are similar in that they are in leadership positions and make decisions that affect the team’s goals and direction. However, the difference lies in how they operate. Managers are dictatorial, only give critical evaluations, give little to no exception to the rules, and react negatively to obstacles or mistakes. Leaders, on the other hand, are self-aware, collaborate, trusting, react positively, and identify a team member’s strengths. To put it simply, leaders connect with their team and genuinely listen, where managers are by the numbers and uninterested in the team’s individuals.
71% of employees who believe their managers identify their strengths and acknowledge their work feel engaged in their work. Engaged, or empowered, employees will work more efficiently and effectively than those who feel underappreciated. To effectively manage your team, you need to be a leader and make a personal connection. Through those relationships, you will be able to lead more effectively and your team will operate more efficiently.
Be Sure to Provide a Safe Working Environment
Recently, true leadership is being acknowledged over more traditional senses of management. The acknowledgment includes external factors that can affect leadership such as the work environment. Historically, workplace safety has been based on the belief that 85% of accidents at work is caused by an employee’s unsafe actions. This is clearly an example of management without true leadership because a leader would handle workplace incidents in a different fashion.
As a leader, you can decrease workplace accidents through listening to employee feedback and being open to multiple solutions. Work environments such as manufacturing factories tend to have a naturally high risk of injury due to the type of work. When an incident happens, leaders listen to their employees to discover why it occurred. Then, through trial and error if necessary, they implement new safety strategies and ask for employee feedback. If the safety strategy still isn’t optimal, another strategy is implemented until the risk has been minimized or eradicated.
Lead by Example
One of the most valuable tips to consider is leading by example. Instead of managing from above the fray, lead your team by acting in a matter consistent with what you want to see from them. Arriving to work early or staying late shows your dedication and engaged employees will want to follow that example. The adage, “be the change you want to see” is a great reminder that people will follow your example.
Additionally, you can lead your team outside of work as well. Successful leaders are active in their community or country. Leading your team in an extracurricular effort to donate to disaster relief, which can have expenses as high as $136 billion from natural disasters alone. Along with bringing your team together with a positive goal, working to help other will positively resonate within any industry.
If you want your team to perform a certain way, you need to lead the way. True leadership will result in more productivity within your team, office, building, or factory as well as better relationships. Listening to those who work for you and acknowledging their work doesn’t just make for a copacetic work environment – it leads to profitable results that can be measured. Leaders don’t lead for the profit, but it will be a byproduct of engaged and empowered employees.
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