As today is Employee Appreciation Day, what better time to look at how leaders can develop a few key skills to engage and motivate their team.

1) Be more approachable

Our founder Ros Taylor once heard a company director complain that no one came to him to chat through issues until it was too late to intervene. When Ros looked into his office, she noticed that his desk faced the window with his back to the door. It was off-putting, discouraging passers-by to make eye contact and drop in.

Be approachable and employees will come to you with good news, and even more important, the bad.

Create a positive forum for sharing ideas and treat each and every one as precious. You don’t have to put them all into practice but you can trial the best and cherry pick those which worked well. If you don’t reward others’ ideas, you won’t get any more.

2) Be positive and praise more

Being positive is an essential leadership skill when it comes to motivating your team.

Praise and encouragement enables personal growth whereas constant criticism erodes self-confidence.

According to Teresa Amabile, Professor at Harvard Business School, when a leader provides positive feedback, the result is a good mood lasting up to two days with loads of project ideas coming to the fore.

3) Coach and collaborate

As leader you just can’t do it all, so don’t even try.

Coach your team with the requisite skills for the job and if that is not a personal strength then attend a coaching skills course.

The future of leadership is ‘leader as coach’. Millennials resist being told what to do as their education has trained them to collaborate.

Regular one-to-ones to check on the status of tasks, adopting a questioning attitude as opposed to dictating. Whether in the corridor or boardroom, keep colleagues on track with prompting questions; “What support do you need from me to complete your project?”, “Chat me through your approach for this?”

Positive guidance motivates employees to do the best job possible.

4) Inspire

Being a good version of you, with a positive attitude and a bit of light-heartedness and fun will inspire employees at all levels.

The qualities of inspiration and charisma have been researched by psychologists and the major components discovered are energy, optimism, confidence and interest in others. “People don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.”

Leadership is all about others and absolutely not about you. Don’t let your ego as a leader get in the way of learning new skills and guiding your company to even greater success in 2019

Looking for leadership coaching to hone your skills? Get in touch