Managers have a tremendous impact on company culture through their leadership. Their management style and overall behavior can make or break your culture. It’s often said that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. While this certainly isn’t always the case I believe this is mostly true. As I look at my own career and positions I’ve held at various companies, I noticed the 2 companies where I had (and currently have) the longest tenure were companies where I had the strongest relationship with great managers. It got me thinking- what makes those managers so great? What do they do differently than the managers I worked for and left to find something new?
Connect With Their Team: Having a strong connection with your team is a must- not just a “hi” in the hallway or a quick check in to get the status of an assignment- but truly connecting with your team. Spending one on one time with each teammate on a regular basis (and honoring that time!) will show your team you are committed to them and you’ll end up getting the very best out of them. This time together will allow you to understand their skills, behaviors, personal and professional goals – who they are as people. With this understanding you will be in a much better position to help them develop and grow beyond the position they are holding today.
Focus on the “Why”: Explaining the “why” of the business and the mission and objectives of your company helps them understand the bigger picture and how their role impacts the company. If your team doesn’t know why they are doing what they are doing, they will just go through the motions and complete assignments as asked. With a strong understanding of the “why”, your team will go the extra mile and deliver greater results knowing how they are contributing to the greater goals.
Give Feedback: “No news is good news” is NOT the motto for managers and their teammates. Teammates want to know how they are doing in real time and they should! If they are thriving in an area, they want to know so they can keep doing what they are doing. If they are struggling and underperforming in another area, they want to know that too so they have the opportunity to turn it around. Providing specific feedback, both good and bad, on a regular basis is key to keeping your team motivated and keeping their performance on track!
Show Empathy: Great managers listen to their teammates and have the ability to emotionally understand what and how they are feeling. Empathy creates a safe space for teammates and their managers. Empathy builds trust and respect between teammates and their managers. Empathy helps managers understand what could be behind poor performance and allows them to help turn it around and excel. This all leads to happier, appreciative, loyal teammates who will stay because they want to work for YOU because you care. They will be more engaged & productive in everything they do.
Have Their Teams’ Back: The best feeling is knowing that your manager supports you and will stand by you. They won’t throw you under the bus. They will speak up and advocate for you. Teammates who feel that their manager has their back will be confident and comfortable speaking up when they make a mistake. They will be innovative and try to do things differently, more efficiently, more creatively. They won’t be afraid to mess up because they know you will support them.