If they don’t, it may negatively affect your leadership status. Know, like and trust is a popular concept often applied in marketing efforts. The premise behind it is that consumers tend to buy from those whom they know, like and trust. The same idea applies to the world of leadership: people are more open to being led by those whom they know, like and trust.
Whether or not they actually patronize your business, your team is a major part of your customer base. Employees are internal customers who play a major role in both your success as a leader and your organization’s overall effectiveness, and ultimately, their buy-in counts.
Why does employee buy-in matter?
Simply put, it affects your bottom line.
But how does the concept of buy-in translate to the workplace? Employees have to be sold on an organization’s mission and vision, its products and/or services and their leadership to be convinced to make the investment of their time, skills and effort. As a leader, you’re tasked with “selling” your team on these ideas and concepts and connecting the dots to ultimately get their buy-in.
When your team is sold on your leadership, they’re more likely to:
Be more loyal (i.e. show their customer loyalty) and are more inclined to do what you need them to (and may possibly exceed your expectations).
Create positive experiences for your external customers.
Promote your employer brand by telling others about their own positive experiences as employees (and potentially recruit more quality employees for your organization).
So how do you get staff buy-in? This is where the KLT factor comes into play.
Invite your team to get to KNOW you by:
Being visible, accessible and approachable. Put a face with your name. Avoid being the phantom leader, supervisor or manager who lurks behind the office door like the Wizard of Oz. Get out of your office from time to time to socialize with your people.
Letting them know who you as a person. Show your human side by connecting and building relationships with your staff members (within professional limits, of course). Be willing to provide guidance and share your professional experiences and knowledge as well.
Opening the lines of communication. Encourage conversation, institute an open door policy, and invite feedback to promote a cooperative environment and gain perspective and gauge the workplace atmosphere.
Increase your LIKE factor by:
Getting to know your staff. It’s important to know who you’re leading so take the time to familiarize yourself with each person. Greet them, and learn their names and stories. A little genuine friendliness goes a long way.
Being authentic. People can easily sense a fraud and a lack of authenticity. Establish your legitimacy as a leader by being transparent, creating and embracing an open environment and building honest relationships.
Being responsive. When employees approach you with a question, comment or concern, your response is crucial. They need to know that they’re being heard and not brushed off so follow up (even when you aren’t able to meet a particular need) is vital to favorable internal customer relations.
Showing them respect. Have you ever felt inclined to give your all to someone who showed you no respect? No. And your employees won’t either. Take the lead and set the tone by building and fostering a culture of respect.
Earn your team’s TRUST by:
Stand by your word. Simply put, do what you say you’re going to do. People are more inclined to trust someone who takes action and follows through so don’t allow room for doubt by being a flake.
Be consistent and fair. As Lincoln Chaffee says, “Trust is built with consistency.” Be fair in your treatment of others, and don’t throw any curve balls with constant contradiction and unpredictability in your actions.
Take a look at your current internal customer (or employee) relations. Do you have your employees’ buy-in? If so, what’s been most helpful in getting it? If not, what part of the equation do you need to focus on to get back on track to leadership effectiveness?