Managing people isn’t always easy. Too often we hear about people leaving their job because they don’t think their boss is the right fit for them. A common mistake I see leaders make is that they only have discussions or touch base with their employees when something is going wrong. Let’s be honest, nobody wants to talk to their boss when they know only criticism is coming their way. While this approach to management may incur less time and effort on the manager’s side, it’s certainly not ‘leadership’ and it can be quite detrimental to a business. A true leader will have frequent, productive check-ins with their employees, keeping a tight agenda and reviewing what’s going well and what needs improvement. This approach makes employees comfortable asking questions, voicing concerns, and soliciting feedback on a regular basis.
So, how do we effectively build respectful and positive relationships with employees, and become a leader instead of a figurehead or source of frustration to our team?
Hard work and dedication deserve to be recognized and appreciated. Recognizing your team’s accomplishments big and small is key to keeping employees motivated, happy, and engaged. Give specific examples of a job well done in meetings while peers are around and share praise often. In addition, send personalized notes or emails to show that you are paying attention to details as a leader. These positive affirmations will show employees that their efforts are not going unnoticed.
That may all sound like obvious advice, but as managers we sometimes trick ourselves into thinking we’re doing enough of it. Keep yourself honest by keeping a log or journal of the positivity you’re spreading. Better yet, record the ratio of positive to negative feedback you’re providing.
Diversify your employee engagement strategy.
Creating a positive workplace has a lot of moving parts. What is important to one person may not be important to another. Creating a unified company culture is difficult which is why diversifying your employee engagement strategy is extremely important. Having a healthy culture will attract new talent and increase retention, but how do you know where to improve? Here are some tips that can work for any business.
- Have clear expectations for employees. This gives them assurance that they are meeting company standards and doing things correctly.
- Don’t pick on weaknesses. Play to your team’s strengths and try to augment any weaknesses.
- Don’t just hire for culture fit. Look to hire team members that can ADD to your culture.
- Show an interest in employee personal development, personal lives and goals. Giving people the opportunity to share about themselves and what they want out of their role opens the door for you to be more than a boss, but a mentor.
Build a culture of gratitude.
The core value of your company culture and employee appreciation strategy should be gratitude. Conveying gratitude for all the jobs well done, unique talents, and creativity will propel your company forward. As a leader, you hold the power to make people feel more appreciated in their jobs. Gratitude is something that should be used for good, used to build your employees up, and used often. Your people are an investment that need to be appreciated in order to see exponential growth. Show enthusiasm for their successes, send gestures of appreciation, and build relationships rather than corporate ladders.
As Gallup notes, recognizing employees and showing appreciation is one of the top ways to combat employee burnout. Expressing praise through gratitude helps promote an environment where well-being thrives in the workplace. Showing appreciation is one of the simplest yet effective ways that leaders can promote better employee engagement, retain their best employees and create a positive company culture. Making this mindset a regular habit in your workplace helps reinforce a message that you care, you’re paying attention and you’re engaged in the success of your team members.
Written by Brendan Kamm.
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