Do you think of your team members as people who should just appreciate working with your fine company and collecting a good salary on an ongoing basis? According to a Gallup poll, only 33% of the U.S. workforce members feel engaged at work. As a manager, you’ll have a much more productive team if they are committed to working with you rather than merely doing what they are told. To get the best performance from your team, you need to give some thought not only to what you want from them but also to what they want and need from you.
The Importance of Being Supportive
It’s good to have a mission statement or set of department principles, but how do you build a team of productive and loyal people dedicated to making that mission a reality? The solution lies in your willingness and ability to be supportive. You need to show that you are not just a figurehead sitting in your office with the door closed, but that you are there to help get the work done. Make sure your team knows that you are available to lend a hand whenever it is needed.
The Importance of Learning from Your Team
Just because you are the manager, doesn’t mean that you necessarily know the best way to accomplish what needs to be done. Often employees closer to the work have great ideas about a better way to do approach projects because they are constantly dealing with the tasks. Be willing to let your associates teach you, surprise you, and help you. Here are seven things that your team members may wish they could say to you:
1. “Get off my back and let me do my job.”
Most employees hate being micromanaged. Asking them to document everything, send in hourly reports, and checking up on every little development is a serious hindrance to morale and productivity.
2. “I don’t want to go to another meeting, ever.”
Most meetings steal productive work hours and often leave participants with the feeling that they have gained nothing by attending. There are plenty of ways to avoid convening too many meetings, and you should advocate for the non-inclusion of your team when it’s not really necessary.
3. “I wish you wouldn’t keep taking credit for my work.”
Whether a manager does this intentionally or inadvertently, an employee will likely perceive this move as childish, petty and may feel slighted. Your team member will feel more valued if they are given credit where credit is due.
4. “I wish you would take a walk in my shoes.”
Managers need to understand what their team members go through every day and to what extent management decisions affect them. A group member does not wish to be regarded as just a faceless number. They need to be recognized as a person who wants to be appreciated, listened to, and understood.
5. “Tell me the truth.”
A manager shouldn’t try to brush issues “under the rug.” An employee will be much more likely to accept changes if they understand what’s going on and why the changes are necessary. Employees appreciate clear and transparent communication so that they know exactly what is expected of them.
6. “I wish you had talked to me first.”
A manager needs to recognize that an employee is up close to their work and may have valuable input that can influence major management decisions. Management and employees need each other in order to reach the team’s goals.
7. “I wish I felt comfortable asking you for guidance.”
A manager should not be living in an ivory tower, nor should they be dismissive of the needs of their employees. Employees will be much more committed to achieving management goals if they know that their manager is available if they have questions or need help.
The Bottom Line
Being aware of these common statements that your team members may be thinking but will never say directly to you will encourage communication, trust, and engagement. And it will make you a better manager. Your role is to do everything you can to help your employees succeed. You have a lot of influence over how well your team members do their jobs. As a manager, you need to understand that without followers, there are no leaders.
If you are interested in growing as a leader, consider a 360 feedback review. Contact us for more information.