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5 Leadership Behaviors that Inspire Employee Commitment

Inspiring leader with loyal employee

Many leaders see an employee’s loyalty and commitment to the company as a quality the employee should possess right from the start, but that’s simply not a realistic image of today’s talent. Valuable work comes from people who know how valuable they are, and when they commit to bringing their best work, it’s because they can see how much their organization and their leaders will value it.

Leadership commitment and employee commitment go hand in hand. If you want employees who are committed to their work, it’ll require commitment from you to believe in and communicate the organization’s direction and purpose. It means paying attention to how your employees’ unique abilities and personalities align with company values and culture, and showing them that their value is more than a price tag.

Committed teams have leaders who highly regard each employee’s intrinsic worth.

To be a leader who inspires commitment, think through these points and ask yourself (and your team, too!) which of these leadership behaviors you’re already doing well, and which ones you can implement or be better at.

Provide Praise and Feedback

Whether they’re big or small, one-time or incremental improvements, make it a habit to give praise where praise is due. Don’t assume your employees know when they’re doing a good job.

Their work may be high quality to you, but unless they are told so, it can be easy to slip into thought patterns that their work isn’t good enough or valuable to the company. They’ll be more motivated and committed when they know where they stand on performance. Don’t wait for performance reviews though. Continual, informal feedback makes a huge difference in mindsets.

Be Transparent About Upcoming Changes

Change happens constantly in every organization today, from little things like tweaking a process to be more streamlined, to big things like mergers or acquisitions.

One of the best ways to inspire employee loyalty in the midst of change is to be transparent about it. Leaving your employees in the dark almost always results in negative outcomes. If you’re looking to tank productivity, letting fear and speculation run rampant will take care of that instantly.

Transparency means sharing information with employees that will directly impact them – whether good or bad – and giving them the space to ask questions. 

Springing big changes on your employees will leave them feeling unsettled and questioning if they can trust you as a leader. Opting for transparency has the opposite effect. When your employees can mentally prepare for changes before they happen, and they know you’re available for any questions, you’ll gain a lot of trust and commitment as a leader.

Advocate for Your Team

Along with letting your employees know where they stand with performance on a regular basis, it’s in your hands to let others know how their work is making a difference in the company. Upper management may be far removed from what your team does day to day, so as the team’s leader, it’s important for you to communicate their impact.

Whether it’s recommending them for a promotion to another department or recognizing a common need among employees that higher ups are unaware of, you have the power to build a stronger team by advocating for their needs and their talent.

Treat Every Employee Consistently

Playing favorites is a quick way to demotivate an entire team, but it’s not always easy to recognize if you’re doing it, especially if you were good friends with certain colleagues before becoming their manager. Making sure you’re fair and consistent in your treatment of every employee is one of the ways you as a leader need feedback from your team.

This is a matter of perspectives, so to see theirs, you have to ask. This could potentially be a touchy issue, so bringing it up in a team meeting probably isn’t the best way to get genuine feedback. An anonymous survey would work better if you’re serious about finding out what your team thinks.

Encourage Employee Development

If you’d like to see more company loyalty from employees, you’ll have to give them what they want. But what do employees really value these days?

According to several studies, including LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if it invested in their development.

Encouraging people to grow and develop personally and professionally can show them that you see potential they may not see themselves. And without your encouragement of that potential, they may never have the chance to grow into it. Creating development paths and providing relevant training can take your team to a level of performance previously unimagined!

Conversely, many of your employees already know they have potential, but they’re looking to your company to help them develop it through various methods of training.

LinkedIn’s report also found that 87% of millennials say learning and development is important in a job. And guess what – they’re expecting employers to provide that opportunity for growth!

So although it’s last on this list, we can say with confidence that encouraging development and providing relevant training will make a massive difference in your employees’ commitment to your leadership and your company.

To learn practical ways of improving trust with your team, check out our free on-demand webinar with Author and Leadership Expert Kevin Eikenberry:

Training & Development Industry Researcher | Krista researches, analyzes, and writes about the impacts of employee learning on organizations and individuals. She looks at the industry shifts and trends that matter to L&D and HR professionals, and helps them understand how to create better training programs that grow their employees and their business.