Becoming a C-level executive can be one of the most rewarding moments of your career, but as the old adage goes, with great power comes great responsibility. At this level, your actions have a ripple effect that goes far beyond immediate tasks. They impact people’s lives and livelihoods. That means your words, mood and actions carry a lot of weight. There’s no manual for getting it right in the C-suite. However, the following tips can help you make a significant impact with small gestures.
Greeting your employees seems so obvious it should be a no-brainer. However, it’s a step too many executives fail to take. You might think you just have too many people to greet, too many reports to review, calls to make and meetings to attend. That’s understandable, but when you don’t take a moment to engage with your staff, you’re sending them a message that you’re too busy to care.
In the long run, small, genuine moments make a difference in how engaged your people are in their work. Greet your employees every day – especially the people who are new to your organization or just starting out in their careers. They’ll notice.
Employees today are tired of navigating office politics and intrigue. They want truthful and proactive leaders who share the company’s plans for the future. This allows employees to plan and protect themselves.
Transparency is about being open, honest and accessible. When a leader is transparent, it automatically builds trust with employees. Employees who understand their role in the company’s overall strategic plan and are kept in the loop are more likely to trust in their employer.
One of the most basic ways to be more transparent with your employees is clear communication. Hold regular meetings to share performance metrics and progress made toward goals. Encourage employees to ask hard questions of the leadership team and bring up issues and respond to their questions honestly. Sometimes that means sharing bad news. But when executives are willing to share bad news and even admit their own mistakes, employees feel more comfortable doing the same.
Model work/life balance
Work/life balance is a constant theme of discussion in management circles today. As a C-suite executive, you have an opportunity to model work/life balance in a meaningful way. You can normalize boundary setting for your team members.
Even if you got to the C-suite by putting work before everything else, if you want to create a sustainable team and avoid burnout, low engagement and high turnover, you must prioritize balance in your employees. This is challenging when you are the first one in the office, the last one to leave, send emails in the middle of the night and never schedule time for family, friends, exercise or vacations.
When you start modeling healthier behavior, you give your staff permission to do so as well. Set an example by working reasonable hours, using your vacation and having interests outside of work.
When we think of the skills of an effective C-suite executive, we tend to think of high-level skills such as strategic thinking and execution, technical and technology skills, presentation, change management and more. All of those are obviously crucial, but even the small actions of a leader can have an outstanding impact on company culture. Employees tend to follow the leader, so be intentional about modeling the kind of values, words and actions you want to see in the organization as a whole.
Staying on top of macroeconomic trends and relevant governmental and regulatory developments is part of the job for any executive. The recent tax reform package passed by Congress is continuing to impact businesses across the country. Learn how this legislation will impact your organization in our latest white paper.