Leaders play a highly impactful role in influencing individual behavior and helping employees develop a mindset focused on winning at work. The first step is to recognize that winning at work might have different meanings for different people, including meeting financial goals, achieving a certain level in the organizational chart, or creating a rewarding career. It’s important to help all employees cultivate the mindset that helps them be successful in their roles, whatever that means for them as individuals.
Leaders often have more influence than they realize when it comes to employee engagement, accountability, and motivation. When you understand that you play a significant role in the success of others in the organization, it’s your responsibility as a leader to help them achieve their goals. Use these five methods to help your employees win at work.
1. Lead by example
One of the most significant ways a leader can help employees win at work is by doing it themselves. Seeing what success looks like is motivating and inspiring to the people who want to eventually be in the same position. When people see you achieving your goals, they will be more inclined to observe and adopt the behaviors that helped you get there.
Knowing that others are looking to you for cues and inspiration may sometimes feel intimidating, but it can also help guide your actions. The best ways to lead by example include always being accountable to others, meeting and exceeding expectations, helping others be successful, demonstrating your desire to constantly improve, and delivering your best at every opportunity.
2. Coach to build strengths
When leaders coach individual employees to help them grow stronger in their careers, it helps them stay on the path to winning at work. Work with individual employees to improve their weaknesses and build their strengths. Identify the areas where they want to grow their competency and make a plan for improvement. This could include experiential learning-based training, one-on-one mentoring, coaching, and so on.
Determine the employee’s greatest strengths and work together to figure out how the organization can benefit from focusing on those areas. This might look like creating a special project that highlights the employee’s strengths, putting them on a team that will help them stretch their skill set, or asking them to mentor a more junior employee on a particular topic or skill.
3. Communicate clear expectations
Communicate expectations and provide in-the-moment feedback that motivates and recognizes results. It’s not always clear what success looks like, especially when expectations have not been clearly laid out. However, when leaders work with employees to set goals and define the path to achieving them, it’s easier for individuals to see how success could be achieved. Expectations might be about behaviors, milestones, deliverables, or mindsets. Whatever they are, employees can’t meet them if they are not clearly defined.
4. Provide support for problems
Challenges will inevitably arise along the path to success. This is an unavoidable reality, but how you and your employees handle those challenges will inform whether they will stay on the path to winning at work or be derailed in their progress.
When problems do arise, offer support to help employees get through them. This might look like more frequent one-on-one coaching sessions for a period of time, working together to create a step-by-step plan, or offering advice about potential solutions. Employees might need extra encouragement during challenging times as well as recognition for their efforts when they come out the other side.
5. Establish an empowering environment
Establish an environment in which employees understand boundaries but also feel empowered to take actions that will help them and the team succeed. When employees don’t feel empowered, it’s easy for them to feel stuck, whether it’s in their current role, on a task, or on a larger project.
However, when employees have the necessary tools to break through roadblocks without overstepping boundaries, they can keep moving forward. Establishing this type of environment requires setting clear expectations and having a defined process for overcoming obstacles. Employees must know who they should go to for approvals and what actions they can take without getting input from others. When the roles and responsibilities on a team or in an organization are clear and employees understand that they are expected to meet certain goals in their own roles, they feel more empowered to do the necessary work to achieve success.
Most people want to be successful, but they don’t always have the knowledge and skills to pave their own paths. This is why leaders play a critical role in helping others win at work. Leaders have already walked a similar path and can continue to model the behaviors that helped them get where they are. Sharing knowledge through coaching, using world-class communication skills, and empowering others are all critical for building an organization that grows and thrives through individual successes. To learn more about how you can be more effective in your role, download our free guide, Drive Your Own Success: The Path to Winning at Work.