As leaders, we are so focused on the road ahead that we forget those who are walking beside us – Our employees. In the race to stay relevant, we often tend to not realize that our value increases if we garner productivity, employee engagement and results by creating a teamwork environment that gets the best performance from everyone. In doing so, leaders turn into strong mentors who can help their colleagues better navigate workplace opportunities and catapult their careers.

Apart from traditional roles and responsibilities, the workplace today expects leaders to be more sensitive to the needs of their employees. What happens very often is leaders assume that their employees possess the same drive to succeed and willingness to sacrifice as soon as they are hired – That obviously can’t be possible. Leaders need to inculcate the feeling of ownership and responsibility in their employees. In order to do exactly that, leaders need to be mindful of the differences and should embrace those differences and strategically leverage them to create and sustain opportunities within departments.

Bottom line, barking orders won’t get you too far. Leaders must be more emotionally intelligent to be effective and efficient at maximizing outcomes and desired results.

Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Be accountable – As a leader, it is very important to hold yourself equally accountable and enforce the same rules of engagement that you expect from your employees. Remember, just because you are the boss doesn’t mean you can’t be an equal – following this tip helps you appear relatable and approachable, a trait any employee would appreciate. Leaders nowadays are required to be a more integrated part of the team; accessible and less mysterious.
  • Lead the way – A major part of being a leader, is leading by example. That’s great, but very often leaders tend to get caught up in converting their employees into cookie cut versions of themselves. Instead, it is more important to motivate employees by showing them how success can better their lives, what it can bring to their families and life outside of work. Teach them that by doing what they do, they can create an impact and make a mark for themselves and those around them.
  • Embrace differences – We live in a world where differences in people are more apparent than ever before. Our workplaces resemble melting pots of cultures and types, and sometimes we fail to realize that these very differences can fuel unique perspectives and cultivate innovation and opportunity. A great leader would be able to manage and leverage differences in people to assemble great teams and assign unique talents and abilities to certain situations.
  • Be sensitive to needs – In order to get the best from your employees you need to be more mindful of their needs. Each employee has the ability to improve and increase productivity, but that can only be done as a consequence of continuous feedback, recommendations and suggestions. This means that you need to constantly be mindful of your employees reaching their full potential as you are about yourself. Think of it this way – if you find that your employees are not working at or close to their capacity, then you aren’t really doing a good job as a leader.
  • Care about your employees – As leaders, we need to show maturity along with our passion. Employees need to feel appreciated for their hard work and effort rather than being treated like a herd of cattle. Employees today are much more aware of whether or not they are a good fit in their workplace culture, looking for jobs that truly fuel their passion, fulfill their desires, and ignite their real talent, and they expect their leaders to be sensitive and provide a workspace that allows them to be who they naturally are. Beyond career advancement opportunities, employees yearn for their supervisors to be more in touch with who they are as people, showing support towards their personal and professional goals.

These may sound simple and very obvious, but once you inculcate these suggestions into your daily work life, you will find colossal changes taking place. You will find yourself, your organization and your employees heading along the path that you have carved out.

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