Follow the leader Featured

6:55am EDT June 28, 2002
Good leadership is hard to come by. Every day, you hear about company executives who have committed fraud or are just bad leaders. They didn't live up to the responsibilities of good leadership, and our trust in them was violated.

When was the last time you asked your employees if they trust you? People take their employees for granted, and that's a big mistake.

I see six ways to build better trust between you and your employees that will make you a better leader

1. Communicate. It's better to overcommunicate than not communicate at all. This can be done through daily, weekly or monthly e-mails, newsletters or managers' meetings.

2. Take a genuine interest in your employees' financial situation. If an employee is having financial problems and you are in a position to help, why not extend an interest-free loan that can be deducted out of future paychecks? It costs little, and the gesture will go a long way.

3. Take a genuine interest in your employees' personal situation. Flextime is a great way to allow employees to deal with childcare, eldercare or sickness in the family. Employees appreciate flexibility.

4. Give recognition when deserved. Surveys show employees crave recognition as much as or more than money. Show them you appreciate their efforts.

5. Show a clear direction for the company. People need to be able to see the future of the company, as well as their own future. It's important to share goals and objectives that pave the way to success.

6. Share key performance measures of how you run the company. Everyone should know what variables are used when making decisions. For instance, one variable could be return on investment and the timeframe in which you expect to get that return.

Leadership is not to be taken lightly. The more you care about your people's needs, the greater the chance that you will be the person leading them. Even when you think your employees are wrong, if you listen carefully, they're probably telling you something about your business that needs correcting.

In the current economic climate, you can't afford to ignore them.