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LeadershipUnbeknownst to many in the workforce, there’s a factor that transcends extra money, better training, prime hours or even recognition when it comes to loving one’s job.

According to studies conducted over the past couple of years, professionals ranging from those who worked for multinational corporations and professional partnerships to small-to-medium-sized organizations said there were two aspects of their work which scored much more heavily than anything else: Relationship with their manager and company culture. 

Indeed, the “company culture” response does reflect how businesses have evolved and changed, or perhaps how some businesses have been more reluctant to change – people strongly value the culture of the company they work for, and trends have shown that they are making a conscious decision to work for a business based on the culture it has nourished. But in looking at the primary reason folks value their jobs – a positive relationship with their manager – it’s interesting to note that, in this ever-changing world we work in, it’s the relationship people have with their direct manager that still takes precedence over everything else. You know what this says in this age of increased flexible working options and technological advancements (i.e. less face time with a “manager”)? The strength of the relationship is still a key factor in retaining staff.

Here, we’re going to take a look at the ways managers can learn to become stronger leaders so workers can view them as people they can trust, respect and work collaboratively with. 

1. Have a Clear Vision

If you’re a management-level employee reading this blog, your job as a leader is to provide a clear path that your team can follow. This means taking the time to share your vision, your mission and your goals with the team, and your team members must also understand why the goals you have set are valuable to them. Take the time to explain to them why and how your vision, in detail, will not only be beneficial to the business, but how it will improve things for them in return. 

2. Foster a Sense of Connection and Belonging

Here’s a truth: Leaders who communicate openly and often and who “create a feeling of succeeding and failing together as a pack” are the ones who construct a strong foundation for connection. Because we, as humans, are a social species – we want to connect and experience a sense of belonging – attachment is important, as it improves our chances of survival in an unfortunately predatory world. From a neuroscience perspective, creating connection is a leader’s second-most important job, and there are some simple ways to promote belonging amongst employees:

• Smile at workers
• Call workers by name
• Remember workers’ interests and family members’ names
• Promote workers' strengths 
• Praise workers' efforts

This also shows openness to new ideas and fosters organizational learning.

3. Challenge Your Staff

If they are drudging through the same tasks and projects every day, employees may become bored and dissatisfied, so give your staff new challenges that fall within their abilities. Also, providing constructive feedback as they work on new projects wouldn’t hurt, either.

4. Continue to Educate and Improve Yourself

The greatest of leaders not only demonstrate effective leadership skills but, more importantly, continue to improve themselves in every conceivable way. Never stop learning, and be receptive to everyone’s input and perceptions.

In the end, you should generate enthusiasm and positivity, be willing to admit and learn from failures and continue to educate and learn yourself; in so doing, you will become the manager of every employee’s dreams.

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