1. If you want a loyal team, help them see their future
One of the quickest ways to endear yourself to your team is to ask them questions about their goals and aspirations. This can’t be just lip service; you actually have to want to see them develop and be willing to invest yourself in the process as well, even if it means you will have to replace them. In fact, if you’re good, they may even replace you.
2. Celebrate effort even if the results are less than expected
I am not talking about creating an environment where everyone gets a trophy and has their turn as employee of the month. There are extenuating circumstances that can thwart the best-laid plans even when they were executed flawlessly. Nothing reveals character like how a leader loses. If they went down swinging, don’t treat them like a loser. They have just shown you what they are made of and learned a valuable lesson or three along the way. Coach them up and process it with them, but celebrate the effort privately and publicly.
3. Hand over more decisions to your team
Congratulations, you are the leader. While you have every right to make all of the decisions for the team, if you do so, you greatly limit your impact and the impact of your team. Don’t be that guy who makes all the decisions and then complains that your people can’t make decisions for themselves. The truth is the higher the level of leadership, the fewer decisions you should be making. The best way to help your staff person make a decision when they come to you is by asking them questions, starting with: What do you think? Don’t offer ideas; guide them to their own conclusion by asking them questions.
4. Brag on your team
If you don’t have good things to say about your team on a regular basis, you probably have the wrong team. No leader ever suffers because everyone underneath them is a rock star. Seriously, think about it. When is the last time that someone developed the people around them so well that they got fired.
- Brag on them privately one on one.
- Brag on them publicly in front of them.
- Brag on them privately behind their back; they will hear about it.
When the time comes to have a difficult conversation or when you have to ask them to make a sacrifice, they won’t bat an eye.
Everybody wants to be liked and to have a loyal staff, but if you apply these principles, you’ll not only have a better staff, you will also become a better leader in the process.
Todd Adkins is the director of leadership at LifeWay. You can follow him on twitter @ToddAdkins.