Leadership comes in many different forms. Some leaders are creative and forward thinkers who manage back-of-house issues with talent and efficacy. Other leaders take a people-first mentality and seek counsel from other team members for improvements to their company’s operational efficiencies and growth strategies. The most effective leaders do both. 

There is no secret to successfully managing employees. Unlike trial and error with high-level business development, leading employees does not afford you much leeway for making mistakes. One mistake could end up costing you a valuable team member. All leadership should begin with the human element.

People-first leadership is not a skill learned quickly in a college or business course. It is often an inherent skill, but it can also be developed over time as you gain experience in managing teams. After all, you are only as strong as the team around you.

How some leaders get it wrong?

True leaders lead by example. Your employees will model the tone you set for everything across your organization — from productivity levels and communication to interpersonal and client-facing relationships. How you present yourself at work, and how you treat your employees, will directly impact your company’s culture.

Don’t treat your employees as a means to an end by valuing them solely by their work performance. Don’t reprimand employees for their mistakes without also acknowledging their successes. What you fixate on will influence your company’s culture.

Leaders who are cold and easily irritable cause employees to become disengaged and dissatisfied at their jobs. Such a work climate can negatively impact employees’ work ethic and your bottom line.

Treat employees as humans

People-first leaders recognize that team members are more than just employees.

Leaders should seek out ways to connect with their team. One way is by lending support through an especially challenging time.  Another way is by committing your time to teach your employees new tasks. Effective leaders recognize and respond to people’s concerns. They motivate lower-performing team members in positive ways and don’t use threats or intimidation. People-first leaders actively listen to the opinions and interests of their team members.

Such behaviors inspire tangible change necessary to move forward. Commitment to your employees fortifies and unites your team. Leading with a distinctly human element is not a trait every leader can master. But for those who can, the result will be a completely transformed organization.

Never lose sight of the importance of the people at your company. The success of your business hinges on your ability to prioritize the human element in your workplace.

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