In this fast-paced world, it's tough for managers to get everything done in a way that inspires people to do their best. Gain insights as to what managers can do to connect more deeply with their employees.
- For years, I wondered how teams of employees working in the same department could have very different experiences at work. Some teams appear to be happy and productive while others were downright miserable. Then it hit me. The differentiating factor was their relationship with their manager. Leaders have more influence than they realize especially when it comes to employee engagement. So let's look at how you can positively influence how your employees feel about their work and then develop a team of highly engaged people.
First, you owe it to yourself and your team to send those actively disengaged people packing. This is a critical first move to ensure your efforts will pay off. If you don't, you'll find yourself spending all of your energy on the wrong people with little to show for your efforts. Next, you'll need to focus on the communication skills that will have the most impact on your relationship with your employees and improve their engagement. Communication is the backbone of any relationship, whether it's by phone, video, email or in-person meetings.
Consistent communication is what you're going for. Think about it. If you reach out to your manager and end up waiting days for her reply, you'll probably end up thinking, if I went away tomorrow, she'd never notice. Now, compare this to what happens when you work for a manager who consistently responds within 24 hours and when she can't, she'll let you know so you aren't checking email every three minutes. You get the feeling that this leader is invested in your success, so you work even harder to prove her investments a good one.
Next, you'll need to regularly provide meaningful feedback regarding work performance. Doing so once or twice a year isn't going to cut it. Make it a point to recognize and thank employees for a job well done as soon as you observe something positive worth noting. Then, focus on strengths and positive characteristics. Leaders who build on strengths find that employees are much more willing to exert additional effort to improve upon something they're okay at and enjoy than they are in fixing their deficiencies.
If those weaknesses really aren't earth shattering, put your energy into helping your people improve on their strengths. It's a lot less work and will give you better results and is a lot more rewarding. And as you talk with your people, look for ways to deepen your conversations with your employees. Ask open-ended questions to create dialogue then listen to what they have to say. Showing interest and respect for their input can go a long way towards increasing employee engagement.
And the best managers make a concerted effort to get to know their employees outside of work. They recognize there's more to people than their work persona. Personal connections can cause employees to become highly engaged. When you do all this, you'll be a better manager, which will help you deepen your relationships with those you supervise and in turn, improve employee engagement.
- What motivates and engages today's employees
- The three types of employees
- How managers can engage employees
- Building a magnetic culture
- Creating lifelong connections with employees