More Than Small Talk: The Importance of Getting to Know Your Employees
One of the most important aspects of being a leader is knowing your employees or team members. In order to be a leader, you need people to follow you. Knowing your team members and showing a real appreciation for them and their personalities, wants, needs, and work styles will build a sense of trust and community within your organization.
You may have a desire to build an organization built on trust and mutual respect, and you want your employees to be able to come to you with their problems and concerns and feel comfortable sharing them with you. However, if there seems to be a block between you and other leaders and the team members, you may want to ask yourself how well you know your employees. When it comes down to it, do you know much more than their names and job titles?
Take a minute to consider the following questions to see how well you actually know your team members:
– Does anyone who works for you have a birthday this month?
– Is anyone dealing with a family crisis or personal issue that might be effective their work?
– Are any of your employees married, have kids, or have grandkids?
– Who possesses creatives skills on your team? Do you have employees that are more analytical? Are they using these skills to benefit your team?
– Can you name any hobbies or activities that your employees are involved in?
– Do you know how your employees feel about their jobs? Are they just there to earn a paycheck, or are they looking to learn and grow, to make a contribution, and to make a change within the organization?
So, how did you do? Is it time to get to know your team members better?
While it may seem simple, getting to know your team members on a more personal level can make a big difference in workplace morale, employee performance, and job satisfaction. Let’s take a look at how you can get to know your employees better.
1. Be approachable: Implement an open door policy and encourage your team members to come to you for both personal and professional matters. Having a friendly disposition goes a long way in making you an approachable leader.
2. Host team social events, coffee outings, and other less professional gatherings to get to know your employees in an environment outside of work. You might see a new side to your team members and discover new talents and traits that you can access back in the office. Seeing your team members in different environments might help you understand them and the way they make decisions and behave a little better, which will help both when it comes to disciplining and praising behavior.
3. Let your team members know that they have your support. You don’t want to give them the impression that you’ll back them up if they’ve done something unethical, but that you’ll help them along as long as they are working in the best interest of your organization.
4. Pay attention to your employees’ working conditions. Make improvements that will ensure their time spent in the office is a little more enjoyable. This will show your employees that you value them.
5. If you implement a reward system, make sure it is acting as a motivator and not a demoralizer. Make sure that your reward system is competitive yet fair and allows each team member a chance to receive an award.
6. A team is only as strong as its weakest link, so it is important to encourage individual development as well as team development. If each team member is striving to become better individually, the team will grow stronger in the process.
7. Be compassionate and share in your team members’ hardships and struggles. Don’t allow them to use the struggles as an excuse to put out subpar work, but you should make allowances for people dealing with grief and hardships and show an understanding of their issues.
Once you get to know your employees, you might find that your team is lacking in certain areas. Maybe you realize you don’t have anyone with a strong voice to promote your brand, or your marketing team doesn’t have a strong grasp on current tactics. If that’s the case, contact Business Marketing Engine to book a free consultation to learn how we can fill those gaps in your team.
As you get to know your employees, you’ll get to benefit from the following things:
– You’ll become aware of each individual’s learning style. Use this information to better train, describe job duties, and convey information that helps your employee be the most effective.
– Getting to know individual communication styles helps you better understand behavior, leadership potential, and how to manage better.
– You will understand what they like and don’t like to do, as well as what they are best inclined to do. Delegating job duties and tasks is easier when you know who is suited for what task. You can also use this knowledge to push your employees to complete tasks that challenge them and help them grow as a professional.
– Having an idea of what motivates your employees will allow you to get the most efficiency out of them. Some may prefer bonuses, others may just want some praise. By tailoring motivation, you know you can get the best work out of your team members.
– Employees respond to feedback in different ways. It helps to know which employees need things slightly sugarcoated, and some prefer straightforward feedback.
– Discover that your employees are more effective and productive when they are in an environment where they feel respected and honored as individuals.
With only so many hours in the day, how much time should you spend getting to know your team members? The folks at Zappos suggest employing the 80/20 rule to building relationships. Spending 20% of your time getting to know your employees can build relationships that pay off in the long run and have a ripple effect for you, your employees, and your team as a whole.
When time is precious, you’ll start to see every encounter as an opportunity. Getting to know your employees helps you manage them in a much more effective way. You can learn their strengths and their passions, and when those two factors combine, your team will feel a real purpose and become much more efficient.
Additionally, when you start to see a more personal side to your employees and the lines of communication are opened, there will be more mindfulness in the way team members interact with each other. As familiarity grows, so does mutual respect. Communication and listening skills will improve, as well. You’ll be able to pick up on subtle cues and have a better understanding of your team.
You’ll benefit from getting to know your employees as well, since it will help you become a more effective leader. You will have built trusting relationships with your employees, and by showing you care for and value your employees encourages them to be more satisfied in their workplace and utilize their skills to the best of their abilities.
If 20% seems like a lot of time to spend with your employees, think of it more as a guideline than a hard and fast rule. Even taking the time to sit down for lunch for 15 minutes or grab a quick cup of coffee with an employee helps to remove the boss/employee wall and build a foundation of communication, trust, and respect. Your team will feel more accountable for each other, and everyone will feel like they are working towards a common goal.
The most important thing to take away from getting to know your employees comes down to one word – trust. Taking the time to know what is important to your team member shows them that you value them as more than just a worker but also as an individual. By getting to know your employees on a personal level, they will feel like they are valued not just for what they do, but who they are. Once you have built a foundation of trust with your team members, you’ll start a line of open and honest communication and create a work environment where everyone feels supported and that they have something important to offer
As you get to know your team and their strengths and weaknesses, you may find that they could use support in certain areas of business. That is where Business Marketing Engine comes in. We can help fill in the gaps in your team to give your business the best chance for success. Contact us today for your free consultation to find out how BME can give your business and your team the help it needs to achieve success on a new level.