Employees are the lifeblood of every successful business. They provide the legwork and serve as frontliners for the company. They deliver better results when they are motivated, happy and engaged. Workers who are disgruntled and disengaged, on the other hand, provide poor customer service and mediocre output. Unhappy employees also lack loyalty, a key factor for company success.
Loyalty makes financial sense for organisations and businesses. It has a positive impact on employee retention and results to lower training and development cost. Loyal employees also draw in loyal customers. As such, sensible leaders invest in employee retention programs and engagement activities. They try to understand what their people need and make an effort to gain their trust. Here are 6 methods used by great leaders to build loyalty:
1. Great leaders provide direction
Loyalty requires a purpose greater than the individual. Employees crave to be part of something grand. They want to know their place in the organisation. They need to understand which direction they are headed for. They aspire to be part of the company’s success.
Good leaders know how to gather their troops and make them rally towards a common goal. They make the company’s mission very clear to all employees. They share their vision and turn it into a collective aspiration for everyone. They let the employees know where the company is headed and how each member can contribute to overall success.
2. Great leaders communicate with their people
Effective managers understand that open communication is vital to the organisation’s success. Employees feel valued when their concerns are heard. They feel empowered when their suggestions are considered. They feel important when leaders seek their opinion.
A good leader needs to engage in healthy conversations with his/her employees. It could be a one-on-one dialogue with random employees, a “town hall session” with different teams or a general assembly with all the employees. A leader needs to take time to listen to concerns, gather suggestions and address issues.
3. Great leaders get personal when needed
Loyal employees feel personally connected to their leaders. A person cannot be devoted to something that is wholly impersonal. Leaders need to make their followers feel that they are not mere hired hands. Good leaders make their employees feel valued by understanding their needs, wants and aspirations. They take time to give compliments for excellent performance.
Compassionate leaders create a culture that values relationships. They understand that employees have responsibilities to their families that may require flexibility. If needed, they may have to get involved in personal issues and concerns. They are aware that personal problems will get in the way of productivity if not immediately addressed. They know that a healthy relationship between a supervisor and his/her team can result to better performance. Trust is based on healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are built with genuine connections.
4. Great leaders provide opportunities
Employees yearn for professional development. They want to be given opportunities to grow in the company and to earn more money. They want to do well in the jobs that they are given, but they also aspire to learn new skills that will help them get promoted.
Nurturing leaders provide opportunities for growth. They keep an open eye for talented individuals who can potentially do well in key positions. They provide specialised training sessions that aim to introduce new skills. They create job opportunities that hard-working employees can strive for. They provide a success path for all employees, even the ones with questionable leadership promise.
5. Great leaders provide transparency.
Being fair does not necessarily mean treating all employees equally. In actuality, some workers will show more talent and potential compared to the rest of the flock. The trick is in knowing where to draw the line. Wise leaders understand the importance of having transparent processes for growth and promotion. They provide specific guidelines and instructions. They give everyone a fair shot at gaining more responsibility but only open the doors to those who are qualified. Employees trust clarity and distrust the ambiguous.
6. Great leaders act like role models.
Employees respond well to managers that they look up to. They respect a leader who knows what he/she is doing and provides actual results. They admire a leader who knows how to stay relevant and up to date. They think highly of a leader who always seeks improvement and challenges the status quo. They follow a leader who “walks the talk.” They can count on someone who is consistent in policy enforcement.
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