A host of different leadership books offer guidance on how to be a better leader – and some of them have even won awards. When it comes to motivating a team, however, sometimes it’s the simple, timeless strategies that work best. So here are a few suggestions for how you can lead better in 2019:
What has smiling got to do with leadership? Well, if smiling makes you happy, it’s likely to make your team happy as well. And if your team are happy, they’ll work harder and be more productive. Research by Jessica Pryce-Jones, author of Happiness at Work, found that the happiest employees are 180% more energized than their less content colleagues, 108% more engaged and 50% more motivated. Wow, see what effect a smile can have? Smile more and leadership will seem a whole lot easier as a result.
2.Make life less stressful.
The workplace is full o f frustrations and irritations, which if left unaddressed can send your team members scuttling for the exit. A new study by software company Process Bliss has found that almost half (43%) of employees in UK small businesses have switched jobs because of work-related frustrations and stresses that were not addressed by management. Often these were minor irritations – such as being micromanaged or having to chase up colleagues – that morphed into much bigger problems. Sort out your team’s stresses and you will find that life becomes less stressful for yourself.
3. Don’t keep your team in the office any longer than necessary.
Not everyone shares the view of Tesla founder Elon Musk when it comes to work-life balance. In 2018, it emerged that his employees were working 8- to 12-hour shifts, with some of them so inspired by his “work-till-you-drop” work ethic that they were even sleeping on rugs on the floor. Back in the real world, most people like to have a divide between work and life, to sleep in their own beds and to have enough free time to hang out with their family, catch up with their friends and enjoy hobbies. The 2019 Job Exodus Trends report, developed by accreditation provider Investors in People, shows that leaders can’t just rely on pay rises to retain talent. Workers stay in jobs where there is a good work-life balance (37%) and a good team (34%).
4. Invest in personal development.
Most of us want to be better at our jobs – but we don’t necessarily want to foot the bill for our own personal development. That’s why leaders who give their teams opportunities to grow and acquire new skills will end up getting the best out of their staff in 2019. New research from UK personal development and soft skills e-learning specialists GoodHabitz reveals that having the chance to develop and “put my talents to good use” was among the top five things that UK employees value most in life. Overall, 80% of working adults want the opportunity to keep on learning and challenging themselves. Significantly, though, 86% of the employees surveyed believed that employers should be facilitating this opportunity and investing in their workers. Almost a quarter (23%) also thought it should be standard for employees to get time off during working hours to dedicate to learning and development.
Sally Percy is a freelance business journalist and editor. She is also author of Reach the Top in Finance: The Ambitious Accountant’s Guide to Career Success. Follow her on Twitter @SallyPercy.