We’ve all encountered that one woman who can command a room as soon as she walks in. Wearing heels and a powersuit, she towers over everyone, no matter how tall she is. When she speaks, you can tell she’s a leader. We’ve come to know these women as the “Girl Boss,” or “She-E-O.” But things weren’t always like this. Historically, women have struggled to fight for their seat at a male-dominated top table, ploughing through the patriarchy and all issues that come with it.
Pew Research Center reveals an alarming 42% of women in the US continue to face gender discrimination at work, which shows we still have a long way to go. We’ve even discussed here on the WGLI blog how equal opportunity remain a work in progress, especially for women in developing countries. However, progress is progress. The new challenge that women leaders must now face is how to build a company culture focusing on empowering women so that they, too, can eventually become leaders themselves. Here are some of the ways to inspire your team and foster positivity in the workplace.
Lead by example
You cannot empower people with values you yourself do not possess. Being a leader means that your employees will look up to you as a beacon of hope. Being an inspirational leader means focusing on self-improvement in order to inspire others to grow as well. Growth doesn’t stop when you reach the top. LinkedIn suggests a number of courses like Effective Listening, Risk Taking, and Competitive Strategy so you can cultivate more positive leadership skills.
People, not profit
Entrepreneur highlighted the importance of focusing on the people and not on your profit margin. Misdirection has failed many businesses. Therefore, it’s integral to put the heartbeat of your company first. Show them that you value their wellbeing over profit, and improved performance and success will come soon enough. The next time someone cancels an important meeting to take a rest day or an employee makes a costly mistake, keep a cool head and assure them that they are still valued. Chances are, your team will take this to heart and be more driven not to disappoint you again.
Use positive reinforcement
Never underestimate the power of saying “good job” or acknowledging the smallest of achievements. Simple gestures can make a world of difference to how your employee feels and performs. That’s positive reinforcement at its core. If you’re not much of a talker, Dr. Dustin York on Maryville University highlighted some other ways you can express your gratitude, like non-verbal communication and body language. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple nod, a genuine smile, or a pat on the back to let an employee know they are valued.
Encourage work-life balance
Don’t be that boss who sends messages at 10PM on a Saturday. Everyone deserves a break. Sometimes, employees might think twice about rejecting over-time work or they might even initiate it themselves. Be the one to remind them to take a breather instead. And on days when going to work becomes hard for whatever reason, let them work from home. The traditional office environment is changing and allowing flexibility fosters a positive atmosphere. Employing a Laissez-Faire type of leadership—mainly one where you emphasize trust in your team—shows them that you believe in them enough to deliver on their own.
Organize team activities
For some people, work life ends as soon as they step out of the office. All contact with colleagues is cut off and reduced to professional relations. This tends to be because their workplace may be toxic and so they’d rather not mix it with their personal life. However, being a part of a team you get along with gives you something to look forward to at work and makes whatever difficulties feel easier to cope with. As the leader, you can organize team bonding activities outside the office. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate—activities like a quiz night or after-work drinks can really help strengthen the team’s bond.
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Article by: Joanna Brewer