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Industry Voices: Add value to the lives of your employees

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by Janice Quigg

This excerpt is part four of my five-part leadership series. Today we will be exploring the "A" in my leadership model: LEAD (Leading with your heart; Excelling at conflict resolution; Adding value to others; Developing trust), which is adding value to others.
Industry Voices: Add value to the lives of your employees

"The bottom line in leadership isn't how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others," states John Maxwell.

As a leader, ask yourself, do you add or subtract from each member of your team?

When you are in a leadership position, you either add value or subtract it from those on your team. The best way to determine this is to ask yourself whether you are making better the lives of the people that you lead.

A few years ago, a project manager of one of my subcontractor clients told me about a project that he was involved in with a large general contractor.

He said the general contractor treated his employees so poorly that some of these seasoned construction workers were going home in tears. This leader was not adding value to the lives of his employees.

In the construction world, it can be highly stressful where there is constant pressure to complete the project on time and on budget. In this environment, leaders may not realize they are subtractors. Most leaders are unaware they are subtracting from the lives of their followers.

Often it is unintended. These leaders are oblivious to the fact they are having such a negative impact on their team members. By contrast, the majority of leaders who add value to their team members, do so intentionally. It takes significant effort to add value but is well worth it because it motivates people and helps them grow both personally and professionally.

When leaders increase value to their followers, it has a ripple effect throughout the company, increasing productivity and profitability.

Three ways to increase the value to others in your organization are: showing appreciation often; making yourself more valuable to others; and knowing and relating to what others value.

Showing appreciation often

As a construction lawyer, I've met many men over the years that have worked on large construction projects that span over some years. They dedicate a huge part of their life to the project but do not always feel valued by the leaders of their organization.

Leaders who add value to the lives of their team show appreciation in many different ways and often. Employee appreciation day once a year is a nice gesture, but it is not enough. Find small ways to show your team that you value them throughout the year. You and the team will benefit both personally and professionally.

Making yourself more

valuable to others

You can only add value to others when you have something valuable to offer them. Take steps to improve your leadership skills. The more you grow personally, the more you have to offer.

Be intentional about how you treat your team members. Think about what you can offer them. Can you teach them new skills? Can you coach them into becoming great leaders themselves so that they will have more opportunities to advance in the company?

I call this compound leadership and the benefits can be exponential.

Make an effort to relate to what others value

The best leaders are the best listeners. Want to excel at leadership? Listen to your people.

Find out what matters the most to them. Many leaders try to step into the role before getting to know those they must lead, and fail. The leaders who excel are those that take the time to get to know their people and find out what they value and lead based on this information.

When you excel at leadership by adding value to your people, they will achieve more, become more loyal and have more fun completing that project. So take action. Do something today to show the members of your team that you appreciate them.

Janice Quigg has extensive experience as a lawyer, coach, speaker and author and is a Canfield Certified Trainer who specializes in not only constructively resolving conflict but also teaches how to embrace it and use it to serve an organization's goals. For more information visit www.janicequigg.com. Send comments to editor@journalofcommerce.com.

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