As we continue to tread the waters of the 2023 job market, business leaders must embrace an important task: how to manage their teams in an uncertain economy. The focus on team dynamics has never been more crucial than it is now, and a healthy team fosters productivity and enhances job satisfaction. As the modern workforce evolves with hybrid and remote-work opportunities, new employee expectations, and diverse skill sets, leaders must adapt and embrace their role as “team creators.” To meet employee expectations, boost productivity, and conquer the unique challenges of today’s business climate, leaders must prioritize psychological safety, listening, and work-life balance.
Leaders are charged with setting the direction, principles, and priorities of their teams, and this starts with psychological safety. Amy Edmondson, Harvard Business School professor and author of The Fearless Organization, defines psychological safety as “a shared belief held by members of a team that it’s OK to take risks, to express their ideas and concerns, to speak up with questions, and to admit mistakes — all without fear of negative consequences.” Research shows that open communication within teams promotes helpful feedback, active discussions, and a sustainable flow of ideas, all directly leading to higher team performance.
A Listening Ear
Exercising a listening ear is key in adding value and meaning to your team’s work. Prioritizing the time to listen to needs and ideas not only boosts morale but also creates meaningfulness. Every professional has a uniqueness to the way that they work, so it’s pertinent to spend time getting to know each team member individually. In a 2021 Forbes survey, 74% of employees reported that they are more effective at their job when they feel heard. So, celebrate good work, provide constructive feedback, and actively seek input so that you can demonstrate the importance of their role and their opinions.
Increasingly, employee satisfaction is tied to where work-life balance falls among employer priorities. In APA’s 2023 Work in America Survey, 67 percent of surveyed workers said they did not have the flexibility to balance their work and personal life and reported that their work environment had a negative impact on mental health. Successful leaders must know this and prioritize understanding team members’ needs inside the office and out. This involves regularly weighing all factors impacting productivity, engagement, and success. And while hybrid- and remote-work options are beneficial, they are not the only solution. Supervisors can start by setting realistic, tangible goals, encouraging personal time, and respecting boundaries. Giving your team members the opportunity to advance in both their personal and professional lives promotes a healthier-work life integration and a more driven workforce. This can forge a workplace culture that not only meets the demands of today’s workforce but also lays the foundation for long-term success. By reinforcing the principles outlined above, leaders can take the first step toward building a culture of trust.