As leaders, we want employees who love working with customers and co-workers and let’s be honest, us. How do we find and keep these passionate people who will contribute to our organization, both the bottom line and the culture?
How about starting with one New Year’s resolution: Lets love our employees and let’s show them that appreciation.
Commit to spending time with your employees.
Quality time, it’s one of the five “Love Languages.” It can be applied to both personal and professional relationships because really in any relationship, platonic or romantic, spending time together and communicating is important. It builds trust. Commit to some time, weekly, monthly, whatever makes sense in your organization and with your team, to checking in with your employees.
Checking in might be about finding out where you are in terms of a project and having a chance — already on the calendar — to discuss issues like snags, holdups, too much work on the employee’s plate, failures on the employee’s part or personal situations that may be weighing on them. They give you a chance, as a manager, to pay attention to whether the employee is on track or off track. They give you a specified time to look over how that employee is doing and realize that, for example, the employee is getting everything done way ahead of schedule and might be bored or need more challenging work.
For the second part of the meeting, focus on discussing what needs to get done in the next week, the next month or during whatever time period. Each meeting you can create a little mini set of goals to be checked on next time, which gives you both something you can hold to and be accountable for. What you can measure, you can manage.
You won’t have customers saying they’re not happy and haven’t been so for months, because you’ll have already addressed issues brought to your attention. You won’t be surprised by employees quitting, because you’ll know how that employee views and is performing at his job. You can avoid project bottle-necking, because you’ll have your finger on each step of the process.
Keeping that resolution.
It can be tough to make yourself commit to a schedule of meeting employees. It can often feel like crises, deadlines and other events take priority and you’ll do it next time. But as we all know, once that slide happens, it’s really easy to let it slide altogether and then you’re only talking with employees on the fly. If you can commit to spending the time, you’ll be amazed at how much more smoothly things go.
It may be difficult at first. Creating a new habit isn’t easy. It’s usually in weeks 2, 3, and 4 that we give up on that new diet, exercise routine, the plan to clean out and organize every closet. But if you stick to it, you could have happier employees (and potentially a much happier you) because they’ll know you are paying attention to how they’re doing and available to help them resolve issues. You’ll work much more like a team.