One of our most important responsibilities as a leader is maintaining an environment where all employees feel valued. Leadership is about encouraging our people to grow and excel while ensuring the organization’s values and visions are met.
In other words, leadership is about inspiring and motivating people to reach a common goal.
In the last decade, while the definition of leadership has stayed the same, our perception of leadership has changed. Now, leadership is considered a skill, one that can be actively refined and improved. Learning how to adapt your leadership skills to fit a diverse workforce in ways of age, ethnicity, gender, background, and motivational style is important for you and your company’s long term success.
This gradual transition in the way we view leadership could be fueled by the addition of a younger generation entering the workforce, adding to the already diverse nature of companies today. As a leader, our job is to understand how each employee works, how they feel and how we can provide the tools they need to succeed.
People, Culture and Vision
One style of leadership cannot fit every employee. Following a strict protocol for all employees could lead to failing a large portion of the team, especially the younger members who are known to have a greater desire for self-direction and dexterity within the workplace. Where millennials may thrive on feedback and mentorship opportunities, a baby boomer may prefer to converse only when there is a clear problem.
Uniting your employees’ perspectives and listening to their individual opinions will help communicate that they are important to the company’s success, no matter what the hierarchy order is. After all, teamwork is a collaborative effort, each group member contributing ideas and knowledge.
We can relate this concept to a bakery. A customer places an order for a cake, as a leader you show your employees the recipe and the team is responsible for baking the cake. The customer only cares about the taste, not how many steps or ideas were generated while baking the cake. In fact, if team members feel able to contribute equally, deciding who is responsible for each ingredient and each piece of equipment, the cake could be baked more efficiently.
Learn, Adapt and Change
For leaders of large companies, reaching all employees personally can be challenging. In these cases, your leadership needs to empower your direct reports to maintain consistency across the organization, ensuring that all employees are heard and treated equally. As the company’s values are passed down the line, trust in the company’s culture is built up, which can improve employee morale and overall job satisfaction.
Good leadership should allow for adaptability to ensure everyone on the team receives the same opportunities.
As the team grows and develops, so should your leadership. Leadership is about continual improvement and growth, the ability of balancing technical enthusiasm from one employee to business experience from another. Learning from our experiences as well as our employees’ experiences, both in life and business.
Being successful now doesn’t make you successful tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day and a new environment. Embrace the change life provides and thrive as a successful leader.