Top Leader Traits that Employees Need Right Now

May 20, 2020 | 167 views

Top Leader Traits that Employees Need Right Now
Top Leader Traits that Employees Need Right Now

Google’s Project Oxygen research was developed to better understand how to make their own leaders better. Part of the company’s motivation came from data showing that a crappy boss is one of the top three reasons that employees leave a company. What makes a poor boss (lack of communication, inconsistency, and minimal team camaraderie) was then distilled into the good behaviors necessary to be better managers.

Do they apply in our pandemic-crippled, remotely working, team structures? As you would expect, it does, but the methods used have changed. A few of Google’s findings are worth a spotlight in these trying times. Among the recommendations for good leaders, these few are particularly important to maintain in a higher-stress working environment.

Be a good coach and foster career development. Don’t give up on one-on-one conversations during this pandemic. They are critical to fostering development, and a good leader cannot do that in a group virtual meeting. At a time when some are just hoping to hold on to a job, coach them toward making brighter career plans. Make a phone call specific to one person. No video, no technology.

Don’t micromanage, especially from afar. If ever the opportunity to step back were present, now is the time. Let people shine on their own. You can’t see everything they’re doing each moment, anyway. By empowering them with trust in their abilities at a particularly difficult time, employees will demonstrate appreciation with productivity.

Show interest in team members’ personal lives. Whether shared in virtual meetings or those one-on-one calls, not every moment is business-only. People work to live, and their current situations are very different than they were in January. It’s okay if someone’s dog decides to bark during a meeting, for example—it’s an opportunity to use the situation to enhance personal relationships among team members.

Keep communicating goals. Regular all-hands meetings are important to enforce company goals and to maintain a feeling of camaraderie even if no one is in the same physical space. Virtual meetings are not the same as in-person communication, so strive to make them inviting but also crystal clear in focus. If your industry is fighting for long-term survival or, conversely, trying to perform at higher activity levels, the strategic steps along the way are critically important. Clear direction is especially necessary in tumultuous times.

Smooth paths to eliminate hurdles. If remote workers need a quieter place (instead of hearing their partner making lunch for kids), maybe you can provide a headset to reduce stress and frustration. Be the first to say, “I’ll take care of it,” and then move quickly to resolve problems to the best of your ability. There are unusual challenges at this time, and it will test your ability to problem-solve, but it will also endear employees to their managers.

Google identifies several traits for good leaders, but these specific areas deserve focus right now. If you can recognize what your employees need in our unusual working environments, you will be rewarded with loyal and productive employees, working to ensure your organization’s long-term success.


Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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