Leadership takes many forms and can be described by a multitude of definitions, but one thing remains true for great leaders across the board: Leaders translate visions into reality. Strong leaders are essential to success in any industry. As long as you have people who are inspired to do their best work, you can accomplish just about anything. The single most important factor in our knowledge-based economy is human capital, and if you want to be successful, you need people to stay inspired.Leaders play a vital role in providing the motivation, inspiration and direction that teams need in order to progress toward a common goal. Leadership matters now more than ever, but in order to be an effective leader today, we need to shift from the old power-driven leadership model to a new way forward. Supporting your team now requires a focus on purpose, inspiration, and a desire to care for your people. While building three companies (The Doe, Audo, and Guin Records) with diverse teams, I’ve learned that if you want to inspire and support your teams to work together for the greater good, you have to lead by example.
Why A Supportive Atmosphere at the Workplace Important
Supporting employees helps leaders build a more positive work culture and brings great results for your company. If you provide ample guidance, acknowledge talents, and trust your team members, the results will be reflected in your company’s overall growth. A supportive atmosphere in the workplace can lead to several benefits, including:
- Enhanced confidence and collaboration
When people of different skill sets and experiences come together as a team, they learn from and motivate each other. Such an environment makes everyone feel heard and respected. It develops fruitful collaboration.
- Improved creativity and productivity
In a supportive work culture, people conduct civil discourse to share their ideas, brainstorm, and appreciate each other's uniqueness. This makes every team member feel valued and instills in them a sense of responsibility to do meaningful work. This further cultivates every member’s creativity and productivity which brings great results for the company in the long run.
- Fewer stressful conflicts
People who encourage each other at work form a positive team. The employees don't hesitate to put their best foot forward and discuss their strengths and weaknesses openly. This enhances the team’s overall performance and decreases workplace conflicts.
How to Support your Team as a Leader?
Creating a supportive atmosphere for the team should be among your biggest priorities as a leader. Your attitude toward projects and routine tasks builds your reputation in the team and motivates them to give their best. Here’s how to offer the best support to your employees:
- Engage in frequent and empathic communication
Empathic communication brings your employees together and cultivates productive teamwork. It’s important to conduct frequent team meet-ups to keep everyone informed about their roles and expectations. The process of sharing ideas, feedback, progress reports, etc. must be included in the meetings. The key to conduct insightful team collaboration involves practicing civil discourse . This allows people to constructively state their varying viewpoints without resorting to personal attacks.
- Be available to resolve employee challenges
Be accessible to your employees whenever they need to discuss, seek advice, or clear doubts related to fulfilling their responsibilities. A healthy work environment requires leaders to make time for their employees. Your presence to support the team irrespective of a busy schedule showcases your ability as a capable leader. The team members feel valued and supported at every step. This ensures a positive work culture and better growth of the company.
- Conduct mentoring sessions to help employees up-skill
Helping your employees learn and grow is one of the prime qualities of a leader. You must provide learning opportunities within the workplace to target professional development. Conducting 1-on-1 sessions with teammates helps you understand their expertise and shortcomings. You can also guide your team by encouraging them to exchange insights. This will increase team collaboration and push everyone to work to the best of their capabilities.
- Encourage employees to express their unique perspectives
Inclusivity is one of the most effective ways to support your employees in the workplace. As a leader, you must create a civil environment for everyone to share their ideas freely. When everyone feels accepted as a part of the system, they cheerfully participate in brainstorming sessions and push themselves to come up with innovative ideas. This approach also helps overcome challenges faster and brings the company one step closer to success.
- Help team members in prioritizing tasks
As a team leader, you must be clear on which tasks to delegate to whom in order to fulfill the vision. Effective planning and time management will help you prioritize team tasks. If everyone follows a proper sequence, helps each other out and hustles, they'll meet every deadline. The role of a leader plays a crucial part here in developing a culture of harmony within a team.
- Provide valuable feedback
Check in periodically with your team to review their progress. When employees receive consistent feedback from their leader, they feel supported. Praising members for their efforts and acknowledging their strengths motivates employees to push their limits.
- Use break-time to build a personal bond
Building relationships with co-workers is essential to developing understanding. Leaders can utilize their break time to bond with employees. When you spend quality time with your team apart from work, they feel valued and supported. This ultimately facilitates a trusting and open work culture while boosting the team’s productivity and confidence.
- Set realistic goals
Thriving in this competitive world is possible when you push your team’s limits with every new project. By the same token, understanding your team's bandwidth before assigning tasks is crucial to reaching goals. You can introduce a few challenges which help your employees learn and grow. But the team must not feel overburdened with too many tasks simultaneously. Support your team members by setting realistic targets and encouraging everyone to collaborate and assist each other.
- Build emotional intelligence
Developing emotional intelligence is imperative to fostering a cooperative work environment. The ability to control your emotions and to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others is a soft skill that allows you to actively manage your team’s emotional triggers and needs.
- Focus on empowering others
Empowering every team member is one of your key responsibilities as a leader. Trust your employees’ potential and encourage them to ideate, process, and execute a task on their own. To convey your trust on the team, delegate responsibilities without micromanaging every aspect. When you’re ready to help employees grow, they will be ready to give their best.
What to Avoid While Being the Supportive Team Leader?
The best leaders know how to follow certain practices that discourage negativity and keep the team moving in the right direction. Here are a few practices every leader needs to avoid:
- Avoid playing favorites within a team
Being supportive doesn’t mean being biased towards members you get along with. Such behavior degrades the company’s work culture. To genuinely support your team members, establish cohesion among them.
- Be transparent in your demeanor.
- Provide equal opportunities to everyone.
- Take feedback on your leadership role from someone with more experience than you.
- Don’t rely on false assumptions while making decisions
As a leader, you must be able to make decisions for your team. You need to understand each person's opinion and then consider them before coming to a conclusion. If you make decisions based on assumptions while neglecting members’ perspectives, they will likely feel demotivated and unappreciated. Here’s how you can make better decisions as a team leader:
- Focus on promoting a collaborative work culture.
- Listen to employees' concerns to provide solutions.
- Conduct timely reviews and provide genuine feedback.
- Be mindful and self-aware to promote the well-being of the team.
- Avoid taking all the responsibilities by yourself
Leaders often make the mistake of doing all the work by themselves. This shows a lack of faith towards your employees and leads to burnout. Not only does it leave you overburdened, but it closes the door to creativity and innovation in your team. To consolidate your role as a leader, here are some helpful tips to follow:
- Conduct meetings to discuss projects constructively.
- Ask questions and seek mutual solutions.
- Consider other member’s suggestions, ideas, and opinions.
- Encourage members to take responsibilities that push them to their full potential.
- Never respond with anger or frustration
It’s natural to get upset when your team isn’t performing as expected. But responding in such a state of mind will only make things worse. As a leader, you have to be aware of your emotions while fulfilling your responsibilities. Reacting to an employee's mistake without understanding the ground issue isn’t the best way to support your team. Here’s what to do instead:
- Take time to process the situation and get a hold of your emotions.
- Don’t criticize the employees by attacking them personally.
- Think objectively to reach a better conclusion while reducing stress and friction.
Being a leader is not just about being in charge, it’s about being an example for your team to follow. If you want your employees to follow you with blind trust, then you need to support them in the workplace and help them foster a positive, healthy work culture where they can thrive.A great leader focuses on finding opportunities, solving problems and keeping everyone feeling motivated and inspired. Implementing the above-mentioned tips will help you support your team, build a successful company, and make a lasting impact.