While some may still believe that a fear-based leadership style is a way to achieve success, fortunately, that type of thinking is becoming a thing of the past. A more human approach to people management will ultimately yield better results, including more successful teams and a higher employee retention rate.
Loyalty plays a vital role in a successful organization. Customer loyalty ensures repeat business, but employee loyalty is equally as important. If employees are treated with respect and acknowledged for their contributions, they are more likely to be loyal to their employer and think twice when another opportunity comes along. They will go the extra mile because they want to, not because they have to.
Sometimes, an employer’s appreciation of their employees is based on a “What have you done for me lately?” attitude. Unfortunately, the message this approach sends is that the boss is behind you all the way when you’re on a winning streak but will toss you under the bus without a second thought when you’re not. This lack of commitment to the relationship quickly becomes a two-way street, so your employees know you are committed to their success, and they will likely feel the same way about you.
Trust goes hand in hand with loyalty and commitment, and it must also go both ways. Hire people who are trustworthy and then trust them to do their jobs. If the time comes when that is no longer warranted, cut them loose. Transparency and communication can solidify trust and help avoid harmful misunderstandings.
In some companies, it’s an unspoken understanding among employees that if the boss isn’t yelling at them, they must be doing a good job. A much better approach, however, is to actually tell people they’re doing a good job and provide encouragement when they are struggling. A pat on the back from time to time can go a long way toward building a motivated and productive workforce.
People want to know that their efforts are appreciated. Employers often learn the hard way about what happens when their employees don’t feel valued. Recruiting and training replacements can be very expensive, not to mention the institutional knowledge that will need to be rebuilt. Employee retention not only saves money, but it allows management to focus their efforts on the business rather than on hiring.
Best practice says that shouting demands at people is not really the most effective approach to getting things done. Fortunately, the workplace has evolved over the years, and it has become apparent that a soft leadership style is a much more appropriate way to build and retain a great team.