The Best Leadership Traits for Inspiring Loyalty
Leaders don’t always realize it, but the way they interact with their employees can often make or break their team’s work experience. One study showed that 57% of employees quite their jobs because of their bosses, with an additional 32% seriously considering a job change to get away from an unruly manager. Data also shows that employees are more productive when they have positive, fair relationships with their bosses — so even if that 32% can’t be bothered to put in the effort to find another job, you can bet they aren’t giving it their all during the workweek — and likely, that reality stems from an uninspiring leader who lacks the leadership traits to bring their employees along for the journey.
Though your leaders are likely paying close attention to the results you produce, your employees are paying attention to something else entirely — the way you treat them, and the way you make them feel. There are certain leadership traits that can inspire loyalty amongst your team members simply because it makes them feel as though they are trusted and valued members of the team.
Though it may be easy to forget, nobody starts their careers in a top leadership position. At one point, we were all just starting out, eager to prove ourselves and climb up the corporate ladder.
Think back to when you were beginning your career, or perhaps a few years into a job you were excited about. How did you feel when you went into work? How much of that stemmed from having a good leader or a not-so-good leader?
Leaders have a great deal of control over the way their employees feel from day to day. You can be the reason they excel with the company or the reason they are giving their two weeks’ notice. A great way to ensure you stay in touch with your employees is by practicing the leadership trait empathy — put yourself in their shoes and act accordingly.
If you have a stressed-out account lead who happens to be working on the company’s three most difficult accounts, take the time to talk with them about it, see how they are feeling and come up with an arrangement that will make their lives easier. If you’ve heard repeated grumbling from your team about an office policy that has become a hassle, hear them out, empathize with their feelings, and come up with a solution. More often than not, people simply want to feel heard and understood. Listen, empathize, and taking that listening a step further by solving your employees’ problems.
There is little that can do more damage to your reputation as a leader than dishonesty. Earning your employees’ trust is a hard-fought battle as it is — destroying that trust with a lie or by taking credit where it isn’t deserved can set you on a path with little hope for return.
Employees often ask difficult questions, and while it may be easy to brush them off or tell a white lie in the moment to save face, being honest will gain you far more respect, and you may be surprised to find that your employees have come armed with solutions for the problems they’ve brought to your attention.
Honesty as a leadership trait goes beyond answering tough questions with candor—it means admitting when you’ve made a mistake, too. Though it’s never easy to do, admitting to a mistake and demonstrating honesty and accountability will build your reputation as an honest leader and help your employees realize they can be honest with you when they’ve made mistakes of their own.
Your employees know more about what goes on at your organization that you may ever realize. You get to decide how they receive difficult or confusing messages: directly from you, or from water cooler conversations. And beyond the bigger conversations, effective communication can have a large impact on productivity — the clearer you are about your expectations and goals for the organization or your individual team, the more likely your employees are to rise to the occasion.
A Willingness to Coach
Using your knowledge to help your employees learn and grow within their roles and the organization is one of the most surefire ways to inspire loyalty amongst your team members. If a great opportunity arises it isn’t particularly difficult to leave a leader that doesn’t invest any time or energy into their people, but it is much more difficult to leave someone who puts genuine effort into helping their employees learn and grow. Use the expertise you have earned throughout your career to help those you work with, whether it relates to time management, navigating inter-organizational relationships, or working on complex clients or projects.
Interesting in learning how to be a leader that inspires loyalty? Reach out for a complimentary consultation with one of our executive leadership coaches today!