Happy workers are the key to a happy and productive workplace. Employees who are passionately engaged in their role are going to drive the business forward, and creating that culture is one of the most important achievements for any manager. But how is that done, how does a manager engage employees? Simple really; by being fully engaged themselves. Of course that raises the next, perhaps obvious, question; how do you create engaging managers? Here are a few tactics that can make all the difference.
It starts at the start. Make sure your managers really get to know your staff, especially those who have just joined the organisation. When a manager relates to his or her staff as an individual, they can better understand their requirements and better motivate them. After all, who doesn’t appreciate the personal touch? Ongoing conversations might be held through informal discussions, social events or video calls for those in remote or satellite locations. Building these relationships has the added bonus of circular reinforcement as everyone – managers and employees – get greater job satisfaction and value from better understanding one another’s needs.
Engaging managers will find ways to improve their performance by seeking feedback from those they work alongside. Just as you advise employees about their contribution to the organisation, find out what they think about your own contribution. Compare that with the feedback you’ll receive from your own manager. Is your style effective? Could it be improved? They’ll soon let you know either way, and that information can be put to good use.
That ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ may be a cliché, but thoughtful managers recognise that they alone don’t have all the answers. By engaging with team members to resolve an issue helps create a sense of ownership for everyone involved. It stimulates both employees and managers and builds trust as everyone gets to participate, rather than be directed, in solving the problem. It creates another feedback channel which further improves communication and knowledge sharing within the organisation.
Even more trust is built by engaging managers who invite staff to participate in operational and strategic planning sessions. These are occasions in which to foster ownership and bring all of the organisation’s experience to the table. Team members benefit by feeding their experience into developmental planning and then, in many cases, having the opportunity to implement their own ideas. Managers benefit from knowledge sharing and the engagement that is generated through participation.
Communicating with team members honestly, transparently and regularly is the cornerstone of being an engaging manager. Reaching out to staff demonstrates how much they are understood and valued; it creates a sense of belonging in a positive workplace culture. It stimulates confidence which in turn stimulates job satisfaction and this, in the end, is the goal.
As we said at the start, happy staff are the key to a happy and productive workplace.