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Being a Leader Your Employees Will Remember 20 Years from Now

Corey Loehr
November 1, 2021
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Forget the Profit and Loss statement for a moment. That won't be what your team members remember you for. What they will remember is how you made them feel. Being a leader they will remember with gratitude and fondness, here are four ways to inspire every hire.

Being a leader means showing empathy

“By now, it should be pretty clear that empathy plays a critical role in one's ability to be a successful leader, according to Tanveer Naseer. Naseer says that for those who might need more convincing, here are some of the ways empathy can help you to become a better leader for your team:

  • First, you gain a greater awareness of the needs of your employees.
  • Second, empathy allows you to create an environment of open communication and more effective feedback.
  • Third, it allows us to understand and explore problems employees face and helps them resolve them.
  • Finally, being empathetic with your employees helps to validate what they're going through.”

Being empathetic is about showing understanding. Letting the team member know that you have been in their shoes, probably more than once in your lifetime. Coming from a place of empathy when discussing problems with employees often helps them solve the problem themselves. Prudy Gourguechon explains that “without empathy, you can’t build a team or nurture a new generation of leaders. You will not inspire followers or elicit loyalty.”Think back over your working life to a leader that you had that showed you empathy. How do you feel about them today?

Be open

Being open is another trait that your team members will remember you for.According to Gordon Tregold, "openness is key to building strong connections with your teams. The stronger the connections, the more engaged and committed your teams will be to achieving the goals and objectives. Openness makes you approachable as a leader, which gives people the feeling that they are working with you and not for you. When you demonstrate openness, people will be more likely to bring you information, information which may allow you to avert problems, or at least prevent an issue becoming a crisis. Openness builds trust and confidence in the leader, and helps you appear more humble."Anyone that works with you will remember you if they tell you they felt as though they worked with you, not for you. Why? Because even though you were their boss or leader, they felt part of a team, working beside you—that type of working relationship leaders to better conversations when things aren't working out.Being open is as much about considering all possibilities without a lot of judgment. As Tregold says, the act of being open likely means you receive more information than you would otherwise. It is ultimately helping you prepare for likely scenarios that could cause a crisis.

Being a leader means listening

Listening is an overlooked leadership tool, according to Melissa Daimler. Daimler explains that “With so few anchors in our work environment, and so many variables we can’t control, it’s important to double down on the things we can control. Listening is an overlooked tool that creates an environment of safety when done well. ”When employees feel safe, they will likely remember that when they think back about their time working for you.“When employees say they want their voices to be heard, they are really saying they want leaders who will not just hear them, but really listen to them." According to Glenn Llopis. If you have been a leader who has listened to your employee, they will tell stories of how you went out of your way to make a change because of hearing the problem they had and doing something about it. Llopis also says that “leaders who listen are able to create trustworthy relationships that are transparent and breed loyalty. You know the leaders who have their employees’ best interests at heart because they truly listen to them.”Just as you would remember a school teacher that truly listened to you and showed you in several ways they had your best interests at heart, so too will your employees because you've listened to them.

Appreciate them

A little appreciation goes a long way. Nothing strengthens a relationship more than saying 'Thank You' or 'I appreciate you and what you do.' In today's busy world, it is easy to get caught up in thinking ahead and not focusing on what has been done. Taking the time to acknowledge staff who had cleaned facilities, or gone out of their way to help a member when they needed it, creates a connection with them.Just as being open and listening drives employees to go the extra mile when needed, so too does showing appreciation. They are the silent motivators and traits that set any inspiring leader apart from others.An interesting exercise would be to look back in your past at people that enacted each of these four traits. What memories do you have of them? Are they people that you think of fondly and who inspired you to greatness?