For decades leaders and managers were seen as the biggest assets of their organizations. However they’re only as good as the people they inspire and foster. The real asset of any organization is a committed and involved workforce. Business has a new buzz phrase: employee engagement. The hype has businesses scrambling to look inward and create better experiences for their employees.

Managers and employees aren’t worlds apart. They have more similarities than they know. For starters, managers are employees too. Teams rarely see it this way, and managers fail to stress this enough. 

A good manager enables employee engagement by taking an interest in their team and getting to know them as people. This is an ability managers must cultivate, to boost performance and push growth.

People need a work-life balance and it’s a manager’s responsibility to help them achieve this balance. This will pay off in the long-term with better sales and fewer snags. 

Managers can drive growth and engagement simultaneously. Interpersonal skills are pivotal to employee engagement. A manager who can push for better growth as well as maintain a people-centric approach to managing a team can successfully engage employees long term.

  • Communicate effectively

Growth push: Communicate plans and instructions effectively. This means clearly, completely, and on time. Well-informed teams are better prepared on the strategy to use and the direction to take.

People-centric: Effective communication can save a team from feeling unsure about their functions. Managers who communicate effectively enable their teams with confidence and a clear sense of direction. This is vital to keep them engaged and completely focussed on their tasks.

  • Motivate and inspire teams to galvanize them

Growth push: It’s easy to plan meetings designed to motivate teams to aim high. Implementation and positive outcomes become possible only when a team feels inspired to follow through. Managers who can inspire teams to galvanize into action will achieve results.

People-centric: Inspired teams keep their eye on the ball as they work for the prize. Managers who can fuel this level of loyalty and enthusiasm in their teams create a positive work environment.

  • Plan extended goals with agreement

Growth push: Outline extended goals together with the team. Getting their whole-hearted agreement to push harder inspires each member to work better.

People-centric: Managers who establish extended goals together with their teams will gain their trust. Their teams will pull together to ensure good results. With every team member involved, there’s a sense of camaraderie and the team becomes more confident.

  • Nurture development on the team

Growth push: Well-trained employees feel competent and stay productive at every stage. Managers who nurture subordinates and support peers will see better returns on their efforts.

People-centric: People aim to better themselves by developing new skills and  honing their competencies. Managers who root for the development of their team members, will earn their respect. This will enhance the team’s performance and create a work culture that’s friendly and engaging.

  • Be receptive to feedback and opinions

Growth push: Dismissing other people’s opinions is a death knell for managers aspiring to grow their teams. The more barriers they put up, the less likely they are to learn. Managers who remain open to feedback and the opinion of others will always have their team’s advice and support to rely on in a crisis.

People-centric: It’s difficult to work with know-it-alls, especially if they are managers. Managers who stay open to feedback and advice gain the respect of the people they work with. In fact, they add more value as their willingness to learn becomes a teachable moment for the entire organization.

The thing to remember: It’s easy for managers to fall into the trap of being bossy and unfeeling. Just as it is for employees to assume managers are always at odds with their team’s personal needs and aspirations.

Simply mind your Ps and Qs. Humility and politeness are both valuable and free. A simple ‘thank you’ can pay back ten-fold when you most need it. Saying please is not always indicative of a plea. It’s just polite, and evocative of an urgency or a necessity.

Lead with a sense of camaraderie and maintain vital interpersonal relationships. Without that a team will fall apart over time. Disengaged employees carry out their jobs and responsibilities, and deliver on KPAs for quite a while before their performance levels drop. However, the cracks will begin to appear as the team and its business grows in terms of people and performance.

Managers who do not value politeness and people’s efforts devalue their teams. This decreases productivity and increases the number of disengaged employees. At some point, their unhappiness at work, will outweigh the salary or satisfaction they get from their jobs. Managers who don’t pay attention to team dynamics and people’s feelings are lulling themselves into a false sense of well-being.

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