My boss, though, was great at connecting with his employees on a much deeper level. He eventually pulled me aside and made some suggestions on how to be explicit when expressing appreciation, and to spend more time getting to know and understand my employees. This was enlightening for me because I did care, but apparently hadn’t been doing a very good job of showing it.
We’ve all discovered that people are happier and more productive when their managers care about them on a personal level. As a manager, one of the first steps I’ve discovered to achieving this level of trust is to share things about myself. There’s a balance between being personal and being professional, but by being more open, employees will feel more comfortable talking about themselves and what’s important to them.
In the end, building leadership skills is about exploring the world outside of your comfort zone and establishing a foundation of trust and communication with your colleagues. There’s always more we can learn, and finding ways to be more present will open the door to new experiences.