Tell me if this sounds familiar: your team is awesome. Your people just get each other on a fundamental level, communication flows freely through all channels, and everyone is constantly working to grow their skills and put their best work out there.
If this is not an accurate picture of the way you work, stop what you’re doing right now.
A good team is the foundation of any organization, and the best leaders do everything they can to make sure their team looks like the picture I described above. If you have a ways to go, you’ll need to focus on six key areas to help you support your people when they need it most.
Transparent, honest communication is the backbone of any strong team. You and your people need to have a solid connection, and that means opening up channels for communication—and letting them flow both ways. You should offer clear communication on your expectations and the team’s areas of focus, and your team should feel comfortable asking questions, brainstorming ideas, and sharing their point of view.
That leads us to the next tactic: inclusivity. Chances are, you have a range of personalities on your team, and each person has different approaches, opinions, ideas, beliefs, and needs. Make it clear that all of these are welcome and celebrated to make sure your team feels seen and supported.
Review Their Work
I’m not talking about micromanaging your people here—I’m talking about checking in on their progress on a regular basis. You’re doing this for two reasons. First, reviewing their work gives you an opportunity to get a finger on the pulse of their project’s progress, the chance to course-correct, and an idea of their stress level and workload. Second, it gives you a chance to deliver constructive feedback that can help them with similar projects in the future.
Sure, you’re the leader, but that doesn’t mean you should be doing it all on your own. Delegating is an absolute must for business leaders, because it lets your people build their skills and develop their talents while offering them more freedom to contribute. Other empowerment tactics can include skill development courses, cross-training, and more. Empowering your people to take on the challenges that interest them is a great way to show your support for both their current needs and future growth.
Stand Up for Them
When conflicts come up, only a poor leader will throw their team under the bus. Your people need to know that you’ll stick up for them when it counts—especially if the issues weren’t their fault to begin with.
If you’re a leader, a packed schedule is part of the job. But regardless of how full your day is, you need to make yourself available to your team. Whether that means setting a set period where your virtual door is open or sending them toward a specific channel where you’re more likely to respond in a timely fashion, figure out how to give your people a chance to talk to you.
At the end of the day, supportive leadership is about actively caring about your people. If you’re proactively looking for opportunities to support them, you’ll find them more productive, more responsive, and—best of all—eager to return the favor and support you as well. Make sure to consider how you care for your people, and don’t forget to follow my blog for more tips on making the most of your organization!