But one of the biggest factors that made people feel engaged was a positive relationship with their immediate supervisor. Managers have a huge influence on how well employees perform — and the results are not always based on whether you crack the whip or offer the best rewards. Often, it has much more to do with interpersonal relationships.
So how can you cultivate more engagement and success from your team? Try doing these five things every single day:
Lead by example. As a leader, you’re always being watched. You could view this negatively, or you could see it as an opportunity. Employees feel resentful when they are asked to do things they believe their superiors would not or could not do, so walk the talk. This goes not just for work tasks but also for attitude; if you’d like to cultivate a more cheerful attitude in the workplace, start by being more cheerful.
Ask questions — and listen to the answers. Nothing will breed resentment and disengagement faster than the proverbial “suggestion box” that never gets opened. The best leaders regularly talk to their employees and ask what’s going well and what’s not. When you get feedback about something that isn’t working, really listen to it, take it to heart, and decide how you can respond. It may be that you can’t immediately make a change (for any number of reasons) but just letting an employee know that they’ve been heard and that you’re taking their concerns seriously — not simply paying them lip service — is important.
Give constructive feedback. No one likes being told they’re doing something wrong. But people do like to know if there’s a faster/better/easier way to accomplish a task. Sandwiching constructive feedback with praise is another good habit that will help employees feel both appreciated and supported.
Actively build your team. If you’re not thinking about how to build or grow your team when you’re not actively hiring for a position, you’re missing a key component of being a strong leader. Look for ways you can mentor, teach, and train your existing staff to grow beyond the skills sets for which they were originally hired. And when it is time to fill a position, fill it with care, seeking not just a warm body to fill a chair, but the right combination of personality and skills to be an asset to your team.
Take care of yourself. As part of leading by example, take the time and the effort to take care of yourself. Exercise, take breaks, and make sure you get enough sleep. If your team members see that you prioritise self-care as a means to better productivity, they will do the same. If you doggedly work through lunch, work late, and cram in extra work on the weekends they may feel pressure to do the same — even when science shows that taking appropriate breaks will make everyone more focused and productive.
These tips may seem simple, but if you actively build them into your days, you will find that you become a better leader — and by association, your employees become more engaged, more productive, and happier as well.
What would you add to this list? Do you have a daily habit that has helped you become a better manager? Please share your experiences for the benefit of others in the comments below.