Being a good leader means more than producing impressive department stats. There is a major difference between being a manager and a leader, and the boosting of your team’s morale is a big reason why.
As a leader, you are only as good as your team. It is very important to check in with each member of your team on a group and individual basis for several reasons. The first reason is trust and reliability. Having consistent check-ins will not only catch potential issues early and clear up any confusion if someone is veering off a project goal, but it will also be a chance for someone to air grievances or concerns in a safe environment without fearing any backlash.
While long-term goals are the ones that will mean the most to a company’s bottom-line, having short-term goals that can be celebrated is a great way to motivate people. Success breeds success, so encourage friendly rivalry among your team to achieve small goals and then celebrate by rewarding everyone, such as with a team lunch. People also love being publicly praised, so give people the opportunity to nominate anonymous shout-outs to peers who went above and beyond, and then read those affirmations in a company-wide setting. Sometimes it helps to be silly. If you aren’t in a customer-facing industry, designate one week for high school spirit week-type shenanigans. Declare Halloween in July or Dress Like Your Boss day.
Communication works best when it’s a two-way street. In addition to performance reviews, ask your employees to give honest feedback about your performance as well. It takes some of the fear out of the equation because it’s viewed as a learning exercise, and it also lets employees see a more human side of you. People will work harder for a leader they respect and admitting we are all fallible is a great way to earn that.
Sometimes as a leader, you need to make tough decisions and deliver bad news, sometimes devastating. Explain fully and honestly the reasoning behind your decision and what the other options were, and open the floor to any questions, both publicly and in private. If a sacrifice had to be made for the greater good of the company, make sure the team knows that.