No matter how far you go up the corporate ladder, advice like this always matters.
It can be easy to lose sight of what's really important in the business world – the people who show up every day to make things happen. As a business leader, it's not just about boosting a company's shareholder value, it's also about taking care of the person to your left and right.
We visited with several executives and asked their thoughts on what truths they stick to when it comes to leading people effectively.
Always Have an Attitude of Gratitude
Believe it or not, the words, "thank you," go a long way. Whether it's to the custodial staff cleaning the bathrooms during the day or to your secretary for dropping your mail off at your desk, there is no gesture too small to be thankful for. When business leaders take the time to utter those two words or bring in a treat for the office for a job well done, it shows everyone both in and outside of the organization that you see them as people instead of just employees.
Don't Be Afraid to Fail
Trial and error are what it takes to get a new venture off the ground. Think about it, would you build a new machine and set it loose on the market without testing it first? We hope not! Making sure your device works and all the kinks are worked out prior to deployment are what makes the "Next Big Thing" a success.
If you recall in the movie Apollo 13, there were a significant amount of failures that were discovered along the way when trying to get the astronauts safely back to Earth. Had NASA not experimented the different methods of getting them home until finding the solution that worked, the astronauts would have died. Experimenting as a leader may be discovering a new way to communicate or trying out a different meeting format. If it is not working, fail fast and try something else or revert back to what worked better.
Celebrate Wins, No Matter How Small
Periodic recognition for hard work is always appreciated and gives your team a renewed sense of purpose and a solid morale boost. Whether it's lunch at a nice restaurant, awards ceremony, or a department party, taking time to honor those that work hard for you speaks volumes about a leader's character.
Ask For Feedback and Be Willing Use It
We are all imperfect people, and as such, we could use the occasional feedback session to keep ourselves dialed in. If you feel that you don't need another person to tell you anything about yourself or your leadership style, you need feedback the most.
Share What You've Learned Outside of Your Organization
If you attend a conference or tradeshow or pay a visit to a similar organization, come back and tell your team what you learned. Sometimes, it takes a venture onto foreign territory to help put things into perspective or to come up with a new way of doing business. Don't go anywhere without a plan to discuss what you learned upon your return.
Be Honest and Direct
Transparency and directness are falling by the wayside these days with the renewed push for political correctness. If you see or hear something you don't agree with, say something. Also, don't tapdance around a touchy subject. Being direct with your feelings on a subject gets your point across much faster than telling a business-themed parable.
No Matter What Happens, Keep Going
We're all subject to Murphy's Law every now and then, and the working world is no exemption. People quit, people get fired, customer sentiment changes, products go obsolete, the list goes on. Business leaders must face adversity on a regular basis and can't abandon their team when things get rough. Just keep going, and don't be afraid to ask for help from fellow leaders or outside mentors. If you are really feeling down, take a break. Go for a walk or practice breathing exercises -- you’d be surprised how much a small break can change your headspace and reset your perspective.
When Planning a Project, Set Goals and Adjust as Needed
No project ever really goes smoothly and this is where leaders need to be flexible. Have realistic goals in place, but as for the path to getting there, don't be afraid of the occasional detour. You'll get to the finish line eventually and the lessons learned along the way will strengthen your team tenfold.
Always Mind Your Manners
Holding doors, offering water to a guest, writing thank-you notes, speaking respectfully, and such matter the most when you're in a leadership role. Remember, you're in a position of distinction and all eyes are on you.
You Take Care of Others When You Take Care of Yourself
Not feeling well? Stay home. Feeling burnt out? Take the day off, sleep in, and treat yourself to a spa day or lounge in your sweats and watch something on Netflix. There is nothing selfish about taking care of your needs especially when you work hard to lead others to their own success. It may be time to consider changing up your boundaries, i.e. no work after 5pm, going off-site for lunch instead of eating at your desk or establishing an hour where you only answer emails - and nothing else. You're of no use to anyone if you're running yourself ragged.
Any other habits we missed on our list? Sound off in the comments.