Employees’ desires and demands — including what they want from their distribution company’s leadership team — are different than they were a generation ago. Some companies find it difficult to keep up. These days, keeping a great employee at a company requires more than just decent benefits and a paycheck.
Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent Trends study revealed a few employee desires that many organizations seem to be missing. Among them are permanent workplace flexibility, a commitment to health and well-being, and finding purpose within their work. Meeting these desires can influence better outcomes company-wide, especially when influenced by a leader’s vision. According to Thomas Ajspur, CEO at ENAVATE: “Great outcomes begin with a clear vision of what is possible and a driving passion to get there.”
What makes a great leader?
Bob Iger, CEO, The Walt Disney Company outlines 10 simple principles to succeed as a good leader. Iger writes in his memoir, “The Ride of a Lifetime.”
- Relentless pursuit of perfection
Here’s what I’ve found makes a great leader:
Successful leaders can look at data and make informed decisions. Great leaders can stay focused and keep their cool, especially in times of crisis. Great leaders demonstrate integrity by being open, honest and fair.
Leaders have the skills to work with every team member to provide support, constructive feedback and kudos to a job well done, knowing this goes a long way. Leaders listen to and value employee feedback, and resolve conflicts quickly. They deliver on what they promise. They set high expectations and create accountability without micromanaging. Good leaders aim to hire smart, capable people and help them achieve career goals, often lifting them to executive levels within the company.
A thriving company depends on impactful leaders. These leadership qualities can be spotted throughout the organization and drive positive results among teams.
What do employees want from their leaders?
No matter the industry, employees thrive under strong leadership. Here are a few leadership traits that management — including distribution leaders — should bear in mind.
Lead by example. Employees will go to the ends of the earth to do a good job for great leaders. Employees under poor leadership will simply go. Help employees understand how their daily work contributes to the success of the organization.
Keep workers engaged. Bored employees are neither happy nor productive. To keep your employees engaged and satisfied, present them with challenging assignments and opportunities to grow and develop. Engaged employees bring a strong sense of motivation and commitment to their work, which can drive both satisfaction and job performance. Consider implementing team goals (not simply individual goals) to promote collaboration and keep employees engaged with one another.
Schedule frequent check-ins. Mercer’s Global Talent Trends study notes that only half of employees report that their company listens to their ideas for improving business outcomes. Don't wait for employees to leave before you ask them how things are going. Take the opportunity for regular check-ins to give and receive feedback, listen to employee ideas and inspire them to be involved. Use these interviews to gauge how well you are meeting employees' needs. Seek out their suggestions on what you and the company can do to improve.
Provide constructive feedback. A manager’s job is to make employees feel comfortable sharing goals and ambitions — and also knowing that it’s OK to make mistakes. Employees report that clear performance ratings are vital to their own performance goals. Learn about what drives and motivates your employees and find ways to keep them motivated while providing the feedback they need to thrive.
Create a circle of trust. Employees are happier and work harder when they trust their leaders. They decide which leaders they can trust based on how their fellow employees, company vendors and customers are treated. Ask yourself: Do I treat people at work with respect? Remember that trust is a two-way street. Your employees need to feel that you trust them as well.
Encourage training and development opportunities. Employees will feel more productive and engaged when time and effort is spent on their training and development. Helping employees to their job better is critical to growth — both their own and the company’s.
Consider a flexible workplace. The demand for flexible work environments continues to grow. This could mean allowing work from home days or flexible hours. This gives employees time to help care for children or aging family members. Creating a flexible workplace has been shown to reduce workplace stress, boost mental well-being and increase productivity.
The best leaders build trust with employees and enable that full potential in others. Leaders take an active role and interest in their employees’ growth and success. A great leader provides their team with the ingredients to succeed and maximize their potential.
Identifying employees’ needs and desires can greatly benefit your company and the bottom line. Even as the world evolves toward greater emphasis on technology, the best leaders maintain a human approach — that is, building trust, creating dialogue and clarifying the purpose behind the work at hand.