5 Things Great Managers Do To Connect With Employees
Business managers face a host of challenges on the job, from making decisions to leading teams. But while a manager’s role involves mentoring, it can be difficult to walk the line between leadership and camaraderie with employees. Top MBA programs emphasize management skills because they make an impact on retention—in a recent study, 56 % of workers cited poor management as the primary reason for leaving a job—and communication plays a key role in success.1 Here are five things managers can do to build quality connections with their employees.
While communication must obviously remain professional, great managers are secure enough to be open with their employees about decision-making, plans for the company or team, and even personal weaknesses. The more forthcoming a manager can be, the more respect he or she will garner from employees. And by being open themselves, managers invite their team members to share concerns and cultivate good communication in the workplace.
Take Time to Listen
Many managers feel too busy to pause and listen to their employees’ concerns—but connection doesn’t have to be time consuming. Build quick check-in meetings into your schedule. Depending on personality types and team dynamics, some employees won’t step forward with their concerns or ideas in a large meeting or approach you on their own—so it’s important to set aside time for periodic one-on-one meetings, too. Use those conferences to build healthy relationships with your team members, listen to their suggestions, and recognize their contributions. Time spent investing in employees will yield tremendous dividends in the form of improved team dynamics, productivity, and engagement.
Managers who want to be appreciated must first show respect to their workers. Respect comes in many forms, such as punctuality, empathy, and cultural understanding, and it goes a long way toward building bridges between diverse personality types and work styles. On the best, highest-functioning teams, staff and management cultivate an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.
Great managers recognize their team members’ strengths and successes and call them out in positive ways. The most successful recognition is often communicated through simple means—a thank-you note or an expression of appreciation in a group meeting, for example. Make an effort to recognize and call out not only visible successes but also personality strengths and what each member brings to the team. When employees feel seen and appreciated, their engagement with work—and their team—deepens tremendously.
Cultivate Open Communication
Excellent leaders anticipate common office dynamics such as gossip, bullying, and petty disagreements and foster an environment in which team members feel comfortable communicating their thoughts and opinions. If a toxic environment does exist, don’t ignore it—as the manager, take the initiative to open up dialogue between concerned parties and make sure everyone is heard. Similarly, make information about company initiatives, growth plans, and projects freely available to your team. People stay invested when they are fully informed.
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