As a manager, you likely spend most of your time focused on developing performance improvement goals for employees and working on ways to ensure they achieve them. However, their ability to perform well is strongly correlated with how capable of a leader you are. To drive growth in your organization, you must proactively equip yourself and your team with the proper support.
These goals for managers will enable you to become the manager your employees need to thrive.
1) Create a Culture of Gratitude
Showing gratitude at work has a significant positive impact on workplace culture. Humans naturally desire to feel valued and the more you facilitate that more successful your team will be. Creating a culture of gratitude is an excellent goal for managers because research shows that when leaders express their appreciation, employees are more productive, engaged and loyal to their companies.
When people feel appreciated, it triggers the same reward system in the brain that drives motivation. So, people feel compelled to work harder for those who express thankfulness toward them.
The key to creating a culture of gratitude is to acknowledge people’s contributions in more ways than just saying “thank you” or celebrating their accomplishments in meetings.
- Write a sincere, handwritten note and leave it on their desk.
- Ask them how they feel most appreciated and, if it’s reasonable, act accordingly.
- Take them out for coffee or lunch and spend time learning about them and how you can support their goals.
- Set aside a couple of minutes in team meetings for people share how another person on the team positively impacted them throughout the week even if it has nothing to do with an accomplishment.
Encourage your employees to follow in your footsteps and perform similar acts of gratitude.
2) Figure Out How You Produce Value
If you’re like most busy professionals, you spend your days running between meetings, trying to tackle your overflowing inbox, and cramming through work during the few times you get to sit quietly at your desk. You work in a state of reactivity and rarely pause to proactively consider if the tasks you’re doing or worth your time or if you just think they are because they appeared in your inbox. As a growth-driven manager, one of your highest priority goals should be determining what projects, meetings, etc. generate measurable value and are worthy of your time. Here are some ways to tell if activities are valuable:
- They directly lead to KPI improvements
- They critical to forming or maintaining beneficial relationships
- There are high risks associated with mistakes
- You are the only person who can do the task, and it would take an excessive amount of to train someone else to do.
Block off an hour or two to review all of your frequent tasks and determine which ones fall into those categories. Revise your schedule so that you are spending the majority of your time on projects that fit into multiple categories.
3) Delegate All Non-Strategic Tasks
Learning what your strategic tasks are is key to understanding how to best utilize your time. However, it does not resolve your underlying issue of being too busy.
There are only two ways to add more time to your schedule:
- Eliminate tasks. You should do this for any work that you can cease doing, and it won’t negatively affect their business.
- Delegate work that is critical but not valuable enough to be worthy of your time.
- Scheduling meetings and interviews
- Keeping your databases clean and up-to-date
- Finding contact information for vendors or prospects
- Making travel arrangements
- Any other tasks you identified as critical but non-strategic
If you don’t have in-house support staff that you can delegate administrative work to, consider hiring a virtual assistant through a managed service. The main benefit of outsourcing to a managed service, as opposed to freelance assistants, is that they have on-site trainers, quality assurance managers, and account managers who ensure your assistants have the skills to meet expectations.
Learn more about our virtual assistant services here.
4) Develop Genuine Relationships with Your Team
You spend more time with your team than you do your partner, family and friends. Yet, the majority of managers don’t feel comfortable talking to their employees let alone forming a human connection with them. A survey of 2,000 managers from across the U.S. found that 69% of them don’t feel comfortable communicating with their employees.
The uneasiness that leaders have with their teams is mutual. Most employees see their managers solely as the person who sets their goals and holds them accountable for achieving them. This lack of engagement makes managers susceptible to mistakes that drive away great professionals and limit your organization’s ability to grow.
According to one of Gallup’s chief scientists, at least 75% of the reason people quit their jobs is due to factors that management can control. Part of this issue is simple; people leave bosses they don’t like. However, that only accounts for approximately 17% of voluntary turnover. Gallup estimates that about 58% of people quit because they have mediocre managers who fail to create a positive, engaging work environment.
The most effective way to prevent turnover from valuable employees is to learn what motivates them and do everything in your power to facilitate that. Typically, employees don’t speak openly about they need until they’ve developed a trusting relationship with their managers.
Creating a culture of gratitude is an ideal first step for developing stronger relationships with your employees. However, shifts in culture take time and don’t always naturally facilitate the kinds of conversations needed to understand what your team needs to remain satisfied with their jobs.
Use the time you gain from delegating tasks to start hosting bi-monthly 1:1 meetings if you don’t have them already. Keep the sessions informal and focus on the personal aspects of work that often get overlooked such as how they feel about the projects they’re currently working on, what projects they’d like to work on moving forward, what their professional development goals are etc. Remind your employees that these meetings are to help you better support them and are not meant to assess performance.
Employees who are used to management styles that care about KPIs and not people may struggle to open up. But, once you take actions to help them, they’ll learn to trust you, and you can develop a stronger relationship with them.
Pursuing these goals will enable you to bring out the best of your team and allow your organization to retain the talent it needs to grow.
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About the Author: Emily formerly led Prialto's content production and distribution team with a special passion for helping people realize success. Her work and collaborations have appeared in Entrepreneur, Inc. and the Observer among others.