For many leaders, the bottom line is a top priority. However, research shows that leaders who are driven by the bottom line fail to achieve top results. Instead, they lose employees’ loyalty and respect. Workers know when their supervisors are focused on the bottom line rather than effectively managing them as individuals. That’s why, according to journalist John Boitnott, a bottom-line mentality can hurt the bottom line.

If you’re stuck in a bottom-line rut, keep reading. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Boitnott’s tips for looking beyond the bottom line to better engage with your team.

1. Be careful with messaging. If you’re having a booming first quarter and want to share those results with employees, that’s great. But if your company-wide meetings revolve around profit and loss in the form of graphs, pie charts and dollars and cents, you might be going too far, notes Boitnott. When you frame everything around the bottom line, it’s easy for employees to feel expendable or that they’re just a cog in a machine to make you, and the company, more money. Instead, Boitnott recommends focusing at least somewhat on employee performance around client relations, productivity and creativity. If you highlight only the bottom line in your messaging, it becomes clear you value profit over all else. That includes putting money above personal development, and worse yet, ethics in the workplace. Treat employees like people, not numbers. That starts with messaging.

2. Practice ethical leadership. Boitnott asserts that ethical leadership places values front and center. These values include honesty, trust, communication and fairness, with the goal of prioritizing the dignity and wellbeing of those around you. If you haven’t already, sit down and define you and your company’s set of values. Whether you’re a CEO or in a management position, take a little time to define the kind of leader you want to be. Bointott suggests thinking about your company’s mission and your vision for its place in the world. Consider how you can prioritize your employees and ethics with those values in mind.

3. Engage on a personal level. Employees are people with individual thoughts, traits and goals. Take some time to get to know them through team events as well as one-on-one or small group meetings, suggests Boitnott. During those meetings, talk about more than money. Better yet, don’t do all the talking. Don’t just do a yearly performance review. Make a point to touch base with team members at least every few months. Ask questions not just about how the employee is performing at work, but how you can help them excel. And listen to their opinions.

A bottom-line mentality can backfire. Instead of keeping your employees focused on your team’s success, you might be driving them away. Fortunately, you can turn things around. Consider the tips above to drive high-level performance. Your bottom line just may be better for it.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist who has written for Venturebeat, USA Today and Fast Company, among others.