Subordinates have a tendency to restrain themselves and be apprehensive when it comes to interacting with their leaders. Most employees think that they work for the person above them. Leadership requires the discretion to treating everyone equally and in doing so respect individual differences and developmental levels or skill set. Efficient leaders practice leadership rather than supervision and assign members important and responsible tasks.
When General Electric’s top management launched a major drive to encourage their high-level executives to embrace information-age technology and use it in their daily work, they found that many of the veteran managers were computer illiterate. Jack Welch, GE’s chairman and CEO liked to get things done quickly. He then asked the top managers to find a mentor, a younger tech savvy employee to help them in advancing their knowledge in technology. Welch himself did the same, as he used to communicate using hand-written notes too. The young employees felt more at ease with the top managers and observed first-hand the abilities needed to be successful at that level. Not only it increased their confidence and facilitated knowledge exchange, it also strengthened the leader-follower bond.
Researches have confirmed that high job performance is directly related to high leader-member exchange. GE, back in 2000 showed us a great example of motivating the employees and learning from each other.