Employee morale should be one of the greatest concerns to businesses. And success in this area requires strong, active leadership.

In fact, the World Health Organization points out that leadership and employee collaboration contributes to a healthy workplace.

However, the top area that accelerates low employee morale is that leadership is said to be “out of touch.”

With that said, how do you view your boss? Or, if you are a supervisor, how do you view your role as a leader?

Changing roles

Many of us might be familiar with the old work concept of going to work, following the boss’s instructions, and doing a good job to collect our paycheck. Some of us may never have experienced a partnership or a sense of “team” with our supervisor.

Today, the role of a leader has transformed. Employees seek motivation; they desire purpose and greater understanding with regard to their work. They have a need for fulfillment and aim to make a difference with their accomplishments. The more employees are engaged in their work, the more they have a sense of achievement. Therefore, the work mentality is less about the paycheck.

People in a leadership position

must have people skills

People in a leadership position must have people skills and must be willing to help their team, and the individuals on that team, to grow. Leaders who look to the past and refuse to be flexible and willing to change, cause the business – and employees in it – to suffer.

Executives and managers are the front-runners of employee motivation. When leadership sets the example with regard to motivation; when they are enthusiastic about reflecting company values, this lends itself to encouraging employees. Employees are a reflection of their company’s leadership. When leadership is engaged then goal-oriented employees will be too.

Therefore, management has to think more about setting an example as opposed to simply assigning tasks. Since employees turn to their supervisors as role models and advocates, managers need to think in terms of “mentor” and “coach” rather than the “do as I say” kind of boss.

Bryant Ott writes in Gallup that, “employees are looking for a coach” for both “personal and professional development.” He also states that “engagement-focused managers can become the coaches who create real, meaningful change for individuals, their teams and the entire organization.”

A good leader

Those in leadership positions have to think more as a coach and less about their title. A good leader looks for ways to help the team evolve, to be creative and help employees reach their goals. They also focus on those employees who have potential, particularly ones who seek guidance from their managers with regard to their goals and who are open to being challenged. These employees often have useful ideas, find joy in their work and rarely complain, if ever. Leadership can commend these ones and encourage them by implementing employees’ ideas and challenging them to reach further in their endeavors.

Leaders should also encourage their employees to grow and keep them informed of advancement opportunities within the organization. In addition, they must be alert to employees’ accomplishments.

As previously mentioned, good leaders set the example by being personally engaged in the company’s goals and culture. They are accountable for their actions. They also set higher standards for themselves and strive to go beyond those standards.

What employees can do

But it’s a two-way street, as the saying goes. As an employee, you cannot expect goals to be handed to you. Goals are not always standard, as if they are on a general task list passed around from time to time to various employees. You have to take action and consider where you want to be in the future and the ways you can get there. Be the one to approach your boss with your goals, offer your ideas, and ask for his or hers. Give him something to work with to help you.

Challenge yourself by asking others to challenge you. Be open to constructive criticism and be willing to be flexible if not all are on board with your suggestions.

Listen to others who have been with the company for many years and who can offer valuable experience.

Have frequent conversations

A big key is for both supervisors and employees to have frequent conversations and listen to one another. Share ideas, but go beyond the idea “list.” Talk about how the ideas can be accomplished and then act on them. Have deadlines and clear ownership of every situation so there is accountability with each responsibility.

As a manager, spend time with your employees and/or team to understand how you can help them use their strengths. When there are problems, be open to your employees’ suggestions.

For a leader, the ultimate goal is to be the example – and be the person – who can help others succeed. Being the mentor who is approachable and willing to strengthen others, strengthens the company as a whole. Your team-building efforts will also continue to shape you into a positive role model. And you will earn more respect from those around you.

Build up your company by focusing on your people.