As the owner or manager of a business, one of your main responsibilities is to be a leader. But leading is about more than just taking charge and exerting authority. Giving valuable help to others is also an important leadership quality. Here are nine ways you may be able to lend a helping hand to your staff.
1. Spread the knowledge. Don’t keep everything you know to yourself. In matters involving your particular expertise, seize the opportunities to teach others. Also, keep educating yourself to stay at the front of the pack.
2. Share the resources. Similar to knowledge, you may have “ownership” of resources that other employees do not have. It could be the latest electronic device or the expert information you can glean from a former associate. Be more generous about offering employees access to advice.
3. Find out where help is needed. Unless you are a mind reader or extremely observant, you can easily miss those times when employees need your help the most. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask them about situations where they could benefit from your expertise.
4. Point out the opportunities. Of course, your main business focus is to produce or provide a high-quality product or service. But also keep an eye out for chances for employees to learn and excel. Don’t always do something yourself just because you always did it in the past.
5. Provide honest feedback. Be sensitive about giving criticism—even if it’s constructive criticism—but you should not lie to employees either. Keep in mind that your objective is to enable them to improve, not to sulk or gloat.
6. Tout the best brands. Are there various goods and services that you have come to rely on heavily? Don’t be shy about introducing workers to the same brands that you favor. If they are good to you, they can be good to your employees, too.
7. Pave the way. Perhaps you know someone who would be a good contact for an employee, but you simply have not made the proper introductions. With a little extra effort on your part, you can arrange for the two to meet or talk. It could be beneficial to employees from both a business and personal perspective.
8. Be a volunteer. Your time is valuable, and your workers know it. So when you volunteer time and/or resources to help them out, it is appreciated and can go a long way toward building employee loyalty. Set aside specific periods of time for this purpose.
9. Recognize outstanding performance. The recognition of an employee can take several forms. For instance, you might mention the employee in a speech or article, nominate that person for an award, or provide a bonus or other benefit. On a smaller scale, business leaders may recognize employees in a “shout-out” in the company newsletter or an online posting or e-mail.
Guiding employees is not an easy task for some business leaders. Your inclination may be to plunge ahead and expect others to simply follow in your footsteps. And, if you are not careful, offering help may be misinterpreted or resented, or both. Nevertheless, it is a way that you can show your employees that you truly care, as well as improving the outlook for the overall business operation.