At Advance Financial, we know that operating a best-in-class consumer financial services company isn’t just the job of our leadership team. Providing our customers with the highest-quality service requires the work of many different minds and hands – which is why we believe in training our leaders to be present and accessible in the lives of all our employees.
Looking to make your leadership style more team-oriented? Here are some tips we share with our employees to help them become better leaders.
Eliminate barriers to open communication
One of the most important aspects of any successful leader is the ability to communicate effectively. Advance Financial recognizes that there can be both physical and perceived barriers to open dialogue among employees and managers, and we are constantly working to combat these obstacles to ensure all voices are heard. One way we do this is by having an open floor plan in both our corporate offices and retail stores. Our managers’ and directors’ desks are out in the open instead of behind closed doors, so employees never feel cut off from management.
Many of the ideas that have driven our company forward have come from employees who are working on the front lines of our company, so it’s important that we’re accessible to those who drive our day-to-day operations. As a leader, make sure you’re asking your team what’s working well and what could be done differently. Prompting responses can be a great way to establish a relationship that welcomes all feedback.
Provide resources for professional growth
Advance Financial promotes professional growth by hosting professional development events, such as our two-day Manager Certification Program, which helps our managers develop the skills they need to succeed as leaders. Providing employees with tools for growth both in and out of their current positions can build self-confidence and help them see that they’re an essential part of the organization.
Try asking your team members for help with a task that’s slightly more challenging than their day-to-day work, or offer to teach them how to use a new tool that may make their job easier. Keep them informed of any upcoming development events, and offer to put in a good word for them if a new position opens up that may be a good fit for their skills. Invest your time in getting to know their career goals so you can keep them in mind as you hear of new opportunities.
Foster personal connections
While helping with professional goals is important in building relationships with your team members, you should also take the time to get to know them on a personal level. Is anything happening in their lives that might make them feel stressed or distracted? Have they experienced any life-changing moments lately that should be celebrated, such as having a baby or getting engaged? Good leaders aren’t just tuned in to daily workloads and performance – they recognize that acknowledging life outside of work shows their genuine interest in an employee’s wellbeing and creates an environment that promotes a healthy work-life balance.
Understand your team members’ individual roles
Beyond getting to know your team members, it’s important to understand what their responsibilities are on a daily basis. Try shadowing their job for a day or offering to assist them with their workload. The best way to learn their roles is by serving in them, which can also build trust and reinforce the fact that you’re a member of their team. Walking in their shoes can be a great way to learn more about the company’s inner workings and can even lead to new ideas about what might make the organization’s processes more efficient.
Perhaps one of the biggest takeaways for leaders who are looking to improve their team mindset is acknowledging that not everyone thinks, feels and learns in the same ways. For example, some of your employees may enjoy occasional public recognition of their accomplishments, while others may feel uncomfortable being singled out in a crowd. Some team members may be interested in promotions, while others would rather work on improving in their current role.
This is where getting to know your employees comes into play. While catering to individual needs can provide a more rewarding way for you to celebrate your employees, it’s also crucial to make sure you’re creating a culture where all of your team members can thrive.
Think you might make a great addition to Advance Financial’s leadership team? Check out our current openings.