Building a solid relationship with employees and creating a desirable organizational culture are just two factors that play a major role in employee satisfaction. The way a manager leads their team has a major impact. You may already know this, but good bosses generally lead to good performance.
You may find yourself asking, “What exactly is a good boss?” Well, in many cases, a good leader is one who puts their people before themself. A good boss is a servant leader who does everything they can to set their team up for success while ensuring everyone’s needs are met. This type of individual can certainly take leadership in the company to a whole new level.
In part one of our two-part series on transforming company leadership, we explored servant leadership’s foundation and the role that leaders play in employee satisfaction. For part two, let’s take a deeper dive and discuss how the qualities of a good leader can help change an organization for the better.
How can managers work on changing organizational culture?
When business leaders incorporate mutual trust, encouragement, empathy, and good communication in their leadership style, they create an environment where employees exhibit high levels of satisfaction, feel psychologically safe, and feel motivated to deliver their best work. These fundamental elements are the same elements that are valued in human relationships.
Here are a few ways leaders can amplify their servant leader mindset and improve workplace happiness.
Be empathetic, compassionate, and vulnerable
Managers who care about their employees’ well-being can work wonders in employee satisfaction and job performance. Research shows that when employees have a compassionate and kind boss, they exhibit more loyalty and tend to perform better at work.
Simply asking employees how they are doing, paying attention to what they have to say, and showing empathy when they speak, can help them see you as someone who truly cares about them, even in matters outside of work. This, in turn, creates an environment where employees feel comfortable coming to you with anything, whether it is problems in the workplace or a personal issue that they are dealing with and seeking accommodations for.
Furthermore, the best managers do not only show empathy and compassion, but they also open themselves up to the empathy and compassion of others. They share their own emotions in response, showing their vulnerable side while building close employer relationships, even during the most turbulent times.
Being compassionate, empathetic, and vulnerable with your team has many positive outcomes. It encourages employees to take the initiative, reduces their stress levels, increases their work satisfaction, and more.
When you take the time to thank someone for their hard work, you make them feel valued. In the workplace, this is something that should happen more often than not. When employees feel valued, they become more motivated to work to their full potential and aim for success.
As a leader, it is important to celebrate your team’s achievements — even small ones. In fact, celebrating small achievements helps people when they have to deal with larger challenges that come their way. Doing so will create a positive environment where everyone wants to do better.
But it is not enough for a leader to fake a smile and act like they are proud. To make your gratitude count, you must express your appreciation in a genuine and heartfelt way. Otherwise, your gesture can come across as fake and ill-intentioned. This can negatively affect employees and make them feel like they are not doing a good enough job.
Give positive feedback
Giving your employees positive feedback will help build their confidence while reinforcing behaviors that are beneficial for your company. In addition, validating their feelings without judgment and offering support when needed will help boost motivation and foster a sense of authenticity in your workplace.
Fostering this kind of positivity is a key contributing factor to developing an employee’s sense of autonomy and self-competence — both of which are directly linked to greater happiness, well-being, and employee satisfaction.
Practice self-awareness and self-care
To be a good leader and effectively lead a team, it is crucial that you first are aware of and at peace with your inner and outer self. Before you can even think about relating to others and helping them overcome any obstacles, you must first do so for yourself. Doing something like sharing your emotions or letting go of judgment is only possible after feeling safe and secure in your own skin.
A good leader takes the steps needed toward a healthy relationship with oneself. Someone who prioritizes their own well-being can better help others looking to accomplish the same thing.
Self-care looks different for everyone, but in general, this practice tends to incorporate attention to diet, exercise, rest, and sleep. Mindfulness and meditation practices are other positive ways to work on yourself and care for yourself.
How can leaders create good habits and enhance leadership qualities?
If your organization does not reinforce positive behaviors, such as the practices listed above, managers should take it upon themselves to work on their company leadership by implementing these good habits. Leaders should make it their goal to incorporate these actions into their daily routines to build new leadership qualities.
Although you may do a great job of creating good habits for yourself and your team, it is not always easy to stick to those practices. In a hectic and demanding environment, for example, it is not always easy to stick to good habits. Sometimes, it may even seem more appealing to take a quick and easier way out. In situations like these, managers should seek the guidance of their own leaders.
How can organizations support a good leader?
Although managers are tasked with maintaining a positive work environment and culture, senior leaders of organizations, such as the CEO, have an even greater duty to create and amplify this positive environment where company leadership is top-notch. These senior-level leaders are also in charge of changing organizational culture.
Here are a few things leaders should strongly consider when transforming mindsets and behaviors within their organization, as these can lead the way to an overall transformation of the team’s culture.
Share a compelling story with your leadership
Compelling storytelling has the power to build on multiple narratives and solicit better behavior from even senior-level bosses and supervisors. A great approach to take when changing organizational culture is to share compelling stories with your own leadership. Doing so can help you start transforming your team’s culture from the very top.
Sharing these types of stories can help educate senior-level leadership about the tremendous impact they have on the lives of their team members who report directly to them. This is a great start in transforming management to servant leadership, especially since research shows that company leaders consistently fail to recognize how their actions affect others and how others interpret their actions.
This approach also helps everyone in the organization see that the company leadership really practices what they preach by caring for their employees’ well-being. The compelling story narrative might also help connect the company’s overall purpose or mission statement with the purpose that actual employees feel in their roles and the aspects of their job that they find the most meaningful.
In short, this can lead to immense performance improvements across the board, from senior-level leadership to your direct team.
Be a role model for your team and others
By acting as a role model, you are not only showing your team exceptional leadership qualities that you would like them to follow, but you are also demonstrating your personal belief and commitment to their well-being. When it comes to organizational issues, many senior-level leaders are under the impression that they are a part of the solution when they are actually a part of the problem.
Nothing damages an organization’s culture more than a leader who does not follow its own guidelines and rules. After all, if employees do not see their own leader practicing what they preach, why would employees want to follow those rules themselves?
Build your skills and confidence
Building up one’s skills and confidence is a great way for managers to create better experiences for their team and increase employee satisfaction. As people move up in the career hierarchy, their ability to accurately judge a situation tends to decrease. This is especially true with regard to determining how others perceive their actions.
In addition, many leaders often lose the ability to empathize with others as they move up the corporate ladder. To bring this empathy back, leaders should explore new ways to address the loss of empathy that comes with promotions and gains in authority.
To most effectively do this, leaders can closely follow studies and experiments in the field and use those results to help them shape their own behavior. For example, one study uses psychology to help people re-anchor their sense of power by asking them to rank themselves against influential individuals they consider to be more powerful, such as billionaires and political leaders.
Another way to address the issue is to provide access to meditation apps and training courses that encourage mindfulness and self-awareness. Additionally, tools and resources aimed at improving employee experience through trust in leadership and employer relationships are other great ways to support employee engagement, well-being, and effectiveness. Doing so can have a positive impact on increasing employee satisfaction.
Reinforce the right behaviors
Using formal mechanisms, leaders can reinforce the right behaviors among their teams. In many cases, it is highly unlikely that employee behavior will change on its own unless companies begin to evaluate employee satisfaction rates more closely.
Organizations can also reinforce the right behaviors by praising and promoting the best managers who truly care about employee satisfaction. This will help companies fill their ranks with the right kind of role models whose examples are what they want employees to follow in the workplace.
As a result, companies that identify individuals with strong servant leadership qualities are best equipped to create a supportive workplace environment. This will then make way for better management practices and a complete transformation of company leadership.
Take the right steps toward changing organizational culture at your company
Very few managers and leaders recognize how much of an impact their everyday behavior has on others. This is especially important in the work environment as a leader’s behavior will often set the tone for what is expected of employees.
It is important now more than ever to support and accommodate your team. At Infinity Consulting Solutions (ICS), we understand that changing organizational culture and boosting employee satisfaction can be challenging, yet it’s necessary to change organizational culture.
If you need additional support in transforming your company leadership, please know that we are here to help. Feel free to check out our ICS blog for more tips on different leadership styles, relationships with management, and more. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have inquiries about us and our services.