Are you seeing a decrease in engagement from your direct reports?
Even if the team performance is trending positively, maybe you feel like your people are pulling away. They’re not interacting as much with you and don’t participate in the conversation. Regardless, your gut is telling you that something is wrong.
It might not be you. It could be the company culture or their pay rate. However, we all know that if you love who you work for, you will likely go above and beyond your job description. So how do you become a better boss to re-engage your people? If you’re scratching your head wondering where to start, try these tactics first.
1. Earn Their Trust
It sounds like a given, but you might be surprised how many people don’t trust their boss or senior leaders. Take a look at your latest employee engagement figures. Do you have a 100% rating? Distrust can spread throughout a team quickly and have detrimental impacts on your team’s performance.
So how do you earn trust to become a better boss? Be transparent. Own your mistakes. Don’t pretend you know all the answers. But most importantly, follow through on your promises.
2. Understand They Have a Life Outside of Work
You might be a workaholic or have a different type of work ethic, but one of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming that all of your staff share the same belief system as you. People work for different reasons. For some, it will be for career goals and for others, it’s to pay the bills. Respect their beliefs and understand that the workplace may not consume their life.
You also need to respect their duties as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, or daughters. Sometimes life gets in the way of work, and the last thing people want to stress about is work. You’re in control of what that stress is. Do you want them to fear the repercussions of missing a day, or do you want them to worry less about work and more about their family?
3. Listen First, Then Act
Do you take the time to seek out other’s opinions, or do you act on your judgement when making decisions? The art of listening is something often lost on leaders.
The ability to seek out team members’ points of view and acknowledge their ideas when setting a goal, solution, or direction helps them feel involved in the process. It might also mean they will be more proactive with suggestions because they know you’re willing to listen.
4. Help Them Find Their Purpose
We all want to know where we fit in the scheme of things. When a company announces its year-end results, we want to understand how we contributed.
A great leader helps communicate this. They also know where an individual might best fit by utilising their skills or understanding what their passion is.
5. Celebrate the Wins, Especially the Small Ones
It’s important to acknowledge the effort of an individual or team. Sometimes it might seem like they’re just doing their job, but you might not be aware of how hard they had to work to achieve the outcome.
Their sense of fulfilment is in the palm of your hands. Acknowledging it and congratulating them on it goes a long way to becoming a better boss. At the same time, dismissing or ignoring can have an even more significant impact.
6. Don’t Take Yourself Seriously
You can have authority without acting like a dictator. If you can take a joke, even if it’s at your expense, then it can go a long way with your team feeling comfortable with you.
You’ll know where the line is, and you can pull people into line in private if you think it’s getting out of hand. But if you can keep the atmosphere light, then it can help with your culture and the atmosphere. You’re likely to get a better outcome from people in a more relaxed atmosphere compared to a highly stressed one.
7. Build the Right Team
There are many managers and leaders who surround themselves with their friends and former colleagues. While this can assist in trust, it can also narrow your perspective. The best teams are the ones that don’t always agree with one another as they have a diverse set of views and different problem-solving techniques.
They’re a combination of creative and logical thinkers. A happy, agreeable team doesn’t always guarantee results. Don’t be afraid to have people in your group that don’t always agree with you, but who’s opinion you can respect.
8. Invest in People Personally
If you dedicate time to helping people have fulfilling careers beyond the role they’re currently in, the results they will produce in return will be beyond your expectations. Assisting others to achieve their goals and dreams is the true calling of a better boss.
It’s not always about what you accomplish. It’s also about how you help others grow, develop, and become better both as an employee and a human.
9. Let Go
Allow people to solve the problem, achieve the goal, complete the work on their own. You don’t need to be in control every step of the way. The best way to help someone grow is by giving them the destination, then let them figure out how to get there.
You might offer advice. You might challenge their thinking and reasoning. But you let them figure it out, so they learn something along the way.
10. Get the First Impression Right
First impressions are everything. Some leaders have great first days and weeks with their new staff where they discuss the expectations of the role, how they fit within the organisation, an operating rhythm between the two, and an introduction to people they’ll be working with.
Then there are others who show new starters to their desk, hand them their login information, and then schedule a meeting a week later to get an update on what they’ve done. Make the time for your new people. Don’t expect that because they have the skills, they simply slot into your organisation like a piece of Lego.
11. Solve Problems with Them
There’s a difference between giving someone the answer and working together with them to arrive at a solution together. Some staff will want the answers, they feel like they’ve exhausted every possible solution, but what have they learned.
How can you ask questions to them to guide them down another path? If you want to become a better boss, you can help show them the road, but you don’t need to walk them down it.
How to Become a Better Boss
You can’t achieve success in your role as a leader without your direct reports. You need them to be engaged, performing at their best, and wanting to go above and beyond their role to support you. If your team are losing interest, then your best bet is to become a better boss for them.
If you want to learn more about how to engage with your team, then make sure to follow the Better Boss Blog. You’ll get tips, tricks, and advice on how to improve your leadership capability. Follow pwf services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook to find out more.