As a leader, a great relationship with your employees goes a long way towards their happiness and overall success on the job. Here are ten signs that you’re on the right track.
1: Your team isn’t afraid to ask questions.
Your team should know that with you, they are safe and respected, and that there’s no such thing as a dumb question. An approachable boss is always open to questions and ready with a clear answer, and most importantly always leads with kindness. Mistakes tend to happen most when an employee feels too embarrassed to ask for clarification on a crucial point for fear of ridicule.
2: You and your team can be transparent with each other.
An approachable boss makes his/her team feel comfortable enough to own their mistakes and be transparent about them when they happen. A manager can potentially minimize the impact of errors on the company if they’re caught early and handled immediately. When the lines of communication stay open, a difficult situation can be mitigated long before it escalates. This kind of transparency in a working relationship often comes from a boss who’s willing to lead by example and isn’t too proud to acknowledge his/her own failings whenever they appear, while also being ready to get all hands on deck to come up with a solution as a team.
3: You know what motivates your employees.
No two people are created alike. As a manager, it’s understood that you’re dealing with a team made up of people from various backgrounds, with diverse personalities, who all require very different methods of motivation and as a result, have specific reasons for doing what they do. Through connecting with his/her team on a down-to-earth level, an approachable boss gains the vision to understand what drives all of these people and can determine what it takes to inspire them to each be their best.
4: You support an atmosphere of creativity.
An approachable manager encourages his/her team’s creativity and loves when people suggest new approaches to problems. This kind of manager is usually right in the thick of things, exchanging ideas and giving praise freely for fresh perspectives. A team that’s unafraid to think outside the box and is known for being innovative when it comes to solutions spells definite success for an organization.
5: You’ve got a decent work/life balance
Managers with full, well balanced lives are better able to support employees by encouraging them to also seek balance in their own lives. An approachable boss whose personal life is happy can easily examine issues with greater perspective and is more likely to be able to handle problems when they arise at work with increased confidence.
6: You know when to let go.
The upside of being an approachable boss is the ability to create a nurturing environment for his/her team. When employees have grown beyond your mentorship and are ready to move on and up, however, it can be a challenge to release those baby birds into the world. An awesome, approachable boss knows that they must be allowed to spread their wings and take their skills elsewhere. This kind of unconditional support gives the rest of the team confidence that their manager has their back, no matter what.
7: You celebrate your team publicly
Everyone loves compliments and people thrive on encouragement. An approachable boss builds great rapport and confidence with his/her team by making a habit out of celebrating their wins openly. The extra step of informing HR of an employee’s good work can be an even classier touch; instead of notifying HR of problems, it makes for a wonderful change to document great accomplishments instead. Thanking team members with even the smallest token of appreciation for their contributions is also a fantastic way to strengthen the working relationship. Employees can feel lost in the crowd, and that their opinions and efforts go unnoticed. Taking the opportunity to express exactly how they helped achieve the organization’s goals keeps individual team members motivated and willing to work even harder.
8: You’re aware of the messages you send.
An approachable boss is mindful of his/her moods and body language, as they know their disposition can often set the tone in the office. Sensitive team members are often either put on edge or at ease simply by the way their boss behaves on any given day. A great manager strikes a perfect balance between sharing laughs and good times with the team and knowing when to be serious and get down to work. Being aware of the need for such a balance as a leader makes all the difference when it comes to achieving success from employees.
9: You take the time to know your employees.
While this might sound fairly easy in a small to mid-sized office, it’s not quite so simple with very large teams. An approachable boss takes the time to get down on his/ her team’s level through one-on-one interactions, with the “big picture” goal of gaining valuable insight into the undercurrents of the organization. The manager who does this sees the value in this exercise – despite how time consuming it might be – as it can help him/her recognize problems long before they ever materialize.
10: You check in with your team
An awesome manager checks in routinely with his/her team to ensure that they have the resources they need to do the job at hand. Touching base frequently enough to indicate support and care but not so often that it appears to be micromanaging can go a long way towards encouraging employees who’ve been struggling in silence to open up and request advice or help. Whether it’s something small like the need for more office supplies, or something greater such as more eyes on a project, a manager can set his/her team up for success by reminding them that the opportunity to receive support is always available.
If any of the above sound like you, you’re doing something right. If all of the above sound like you, know that you’re truly doing something great.