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How to promote initiative amongst your team

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Managing a team of employees and watching them grow can be a very rewarding experience, but also very challenging. Leadership is similar to management, but management is more about planning, organization and communication skills. Leadership relies on management skills, but more on qualities such as integrity, honesty, wisdom, commitment, and compassion. People trust and respect a good leader and look to him for guidance. As a leader, you must promote initiative amongst your team, and continuously motivate your people to reach their goals and objectives, not only professionally but in their personal life as well. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

  1. 1. Build a rapport with your people.
  2. As a manager and leader, you should be willing to help your people when they need it. Of course, this does not mean doing their work for them but if a member of your team is struggling with a project or situation that is challenging, get involved, offer your help and guidance. If your team is overloaded or has fallen behind, pitch in and work alongside them to ease the workload. Being actively involved will help eliminate the "us-versus-them" mentality that commonly develops between employees and management. Try to create a positive work environment by using humor and seeing the lighter side of challenging situations. Humor can also be used to help you connect with your team.
  3. Encourage open communication.
    Openly communicating with employees can help promote initiative and motivate your team to excel. Be responsive to your people and encourage feedback. Ask open ended questions-those that require more than just a yes or no answer to encourage feedback. Listen to comments and suggestions given by your team. Let your people know you appreciate their opinions and comments, even if they are not implemented or used. Ask your team members for their suggestions and/or solutions to any work related issues. Team members may be more committed to the project or objective because they have played a role in developing a strategy.
  4. Support growth among your team members.
    Try to motivate intellectual growth by giving your people interesting and challenging assignments and projects. Offer them opportunities to build their skills and education, if possible. Encourage your team members to build their knowledge and abilities by taking classes. Be sure that you have given each member the proper training and/or education that is needed to achieve the intended objective and follow through with the necessary support.
  5. Offer competitive compensation.
    Try to provide your people with salaries that are competitive. You may send the message that their efforts and work are undervalued when you underpay your staff. To ensure salary levels are consistent with what other organizations are offering, do some research.
  6. Recognize achievements and efforts made by your team.
    Verbal praise is a simple but effective way to show your people that you appreciate their hard work. Staff celebrations for project milestones is another way of recognizing your team's efforts. Consider developing a formal program that offers rewards. Customize the reward for each individual employee. Demonstrate to your people that you recognize hard work by promoting from within. Give your staff opportunities to advance within the company. Showing your people recognition and rewarding hard work will help you to promote initiative amongst your team.
  7. Set the example for your team to follow.
    Promote hard work by working hard. Your team looks to you for guidance and leadership, so be professional at all times. The way you perform your work and conduct yourself will be the most you can possibly expect from your people, so be sure to set a high standard.

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Posted by DF
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