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Are you sure you're a great leader?

Do you picture yourself as a fully involved, engaged leader, such has the bubbly Leslie Knope from the comedy show "Parks and Recreation," or Tim Cook, the influential CEO of Apple? Maybe you give 100 percent of yourself to the job and expect your employees to be eager to do the same? Maybe you hold your staff to high standards because you want them to perform well and succeed? 

No matter the reason, the vibrant vision of your leadership style may dim a bit if you accidently overhear your employees complaining in the break room, or are surprised to see your workers fighting back about working overtime or taking time off. Are you sure you are the best leader you can be? If you are unsure, here are a few key thoughts you might want to consider.

Do you micromanage?
Maybe you stay late each day, expecting your employees to do the same. Perhaps you send them emails late at night and are irritated when they don't immediately respond. Do you find yourself checking in with your employees frequently regarding the progress on their assignments, projects and more? You may be emulating an overbearing, micromanaging leadership style.

While you may want to just get the most out of your employees, all you really are doing is pushing them to look for another, less demanding job. Try not to stand over them while they work and trust them to do a good job. If they consistently produce less than stellar work, then you can begin hiring employees who will put in the extra effort without you having to watch over them.

Do you criticize more than mentor?
Maybe you believe that the only way your employees will improve is if you point out where they are going wrong. Do you find that your performance reviews or individual meetings just turn into you showing your employees exactly where they can do better and how they are falling short of your expectations? While it is true that you need to tell your staff when they are going in the wrong direction, you don't want to overload them with negative information either.

Whenever you need to provide constructive criticism, always try to provide helpful feedback and advice as well. Highlight what they are doing well and where they have improved since the previous meeting. Essentially, don't discourage their career growth by making them feel that they can never do anything right. Assume a mentorship role where you help foster their career development, not demand it.

Do you not take the time to get to know your employees?
We're not saying that you need to be best friends with each of your employees, but it may be wise to take some time to get to know each of them individually. While you are their boss, this doesn't mean that you aren't allowed to ask them about their interests, family, pets, hobbies, and more, in a casual one-on-one meeting once a month or so. Simply taking a few moments out of your day to get to know them better will go a long way and show your employees that you care about them as a people, not just about their work. You may be surprised to find that they are more willing to work hard or go above and beyond, if they know you believe in them.

Our course "Leadership: Recognizing the Leader in You" can provide more helpful tips on leading your employees. At ProSolutions Training, we offer plenty of online child care courses and online CDA training for professionals interested in gaining more insight about their field. Contact us today or browse our course catalog to learn more!