The productivity of your employees is directly related to one factor beyond all others. Beyond pay rates, desk sizes, rosters, uniform colours and performance reviews. The one factor that will determine whether an employee will work to their best is how their manager treats them.
Imagine that you are an employee and you manager is moody, snappy and intolerant – how likely are you to feel relaxed, supported and confident about the work you are doing? Contrast that with a manager that is interested in your work, encourages learning from errors and shows appreciation for your strengths and talents – how do feel about yourself and work you are doing for that manager.
It takes a lot of effort to master the skills to be the leader in the second example. I coached a very busy senior manager/leader who already had a high level of skill in good people management and continually worked on ways to improve what he called the “people work”. When he was asked why he was so focused on the people work he replied that he demanded a lot from his employees and in order to achieve that, he needed to support them.
For many managers the idea that they need to support their employees beyond HR tools and rules is counter to everything they have been taught. The prevailing attitude that the employee is the servant of the boss / master has lead to disengaged employees, high turnover and underperforming employees. In Australia 76% are employees disengaged – working for the pay no more no less.
Easy ways to support your employees
1. Acknowledge effort
Take some time to acknowledge when an employee or group of employees has done a good job. It’s one of our basic needs and it drives improved performance.
Ignore good work or look for all the faults. We have all worked for managers that would rather eat poison than acknowledge good work and we are not working for them now.
2. Find and appreciate strengths
Learn to identify the individual strengths of your employees. Most of your staff will have abilities and strengths beyond the job description that could benefit your business. Find them, appreciate them and use them.
Cookie cutter your employees. They will not all fit into the same mould. The old way of work was making the employee fit the job and see how well that’s worked- 76% disengaged staff.
3. Encourage growth
Help your staff to learn from mistakes and encourage self improvement. This will inspire employees to grow and take responsibility for themselves. Coach staff rather then tell them what to do, this will help the employees to arrive a their own solutions and build confidence in decision making.
Turn every mistake into a trigger to punish the employee or be friendly at a cost to being able to have an encouraging discussion. Don’t hide your own mistakes – lead by example and learn from your own mistakes.
The benefits you will gain by actively supporting your employees are too great to list. There will always be employees that need the HR tools and rules to define the employment relationship. For the majority of employees who are working because they need to – the key is to create the environment for them to choose to stay and to participate at their highest potential. These employees want a good relationship with you and the business. Take time with your people ,care about them, mentor them and reap the rewards.