Honest thoughts from employees on what their leaders can do to help them succeed! Some call it servant leadership while others speak of the inverted leadership pyramid. No matter what it is called or what it looks like, the result is the same—a relationship between you as a leader and your employees where you see your role being one where your focus is on helping your employee be successful. Today’s leaders understand that it isn’t just about them anymore; it is about those they serve.

When you being to think of your employees as your customer you can then think about your relationship as being one where you serve. And what is the first step in serving? Asking your customer what they need! But when was the last time you talked with your employees about how you can help them be successful? The answer in most cases is never! We may have conversations. Day to day coaching, performance appraisals, team meetings…but unfortunately, we often do so at such a superficial level, not a level of open and honest feedback with ideas that will genuinely make a difference in the success of those we serve.

Since 1997, we’ve been interviewing employees around the world on what they wish their leaders would do to help them be more productive and more successful. With over 5,000 responses, we’ve been able to identify the actions employees seek most in their leaders. They include, in no specific order:

Listen and understand: It’s about taking the time to listen and truly understand. Leaders understand the importance of listening for understanding.
Tell me what’s going on: In these times of permanent change, employees need information. They equate information with power and seek leaders who share what is going on.
Recognize I have a life outside of work: Balancing work and life can be a reality if leaders take time to work with their employees to make it so.
Ask for my input and take it seriously: Two things here, it’s about asking for input and then taking it seriously. If you aren’t going to listen or take the input seriously, don’t ask for it.
Help me learn from my mistakes: Leaders need to understand that employees want to be successful. However, mistakes will happen. The key is to use them as learning opportunities.
Get out of the way and let me do my job: Pitching in is helpful, but when it comes down to it, give me the resources I need and let me do my job.
Teach me what I need to know: Today’s high potential employees understand the need to continue learning and growing and want leaders who can teach them what they need to know to be successful.
Make the tough call: Dealing with difficult issues is not easy—but it is necessary.
Do what you say you are going to do: Just as a leader expects their employee to follow through on commitments, employees expect leaders to do the same. Be sure to follow through on what you say you are going to do.
Say “Thank You”: Two of the most powerful words in any language are thank you. Are you saying it enough?

As a leader, when you understand that your job is to get results through others, you begin to realize the importance of identifying what you can do to help those you lead succeed. Unfortunately, relationships where managers and employees communicate like this is rare. However, when managers and employees do communicate with the intent to understand – rather than to just be heard – true communication begins to happen. It’s this open and honest communication that helps managers and employees partner for success! When both parties understand “we’re in this together,” they will truly work to help each other be successful.

Free Survey:
Are you interested in seeing what your managers and employees wish the other would do to help them be more successful? Call ATW Training & Consulting for a free survey for up to 100 employees in your organization. Call 515-727-0731 or go to www.wishyouwouldjust.com today.

Author's Bio: 

Todd McDonald is the president of ATW Training & Consulting, Inc. He is the co-author of two books, “I Wish You Would Just …” and “Finding 100 Extra Minutes a Day.” McDonald is also and Official Guide to Leadership on SelfGrowth.com. ATW works with organizations to help unleash human potential through customized programs on customer service, communication, teambuilding, supervision and leadership. http://www.atwtraining.com/

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