The solution to the Great Resignation may be found in the manager.
Not necessarily is it a societal phenomenon brought on by the pandemic. It has been important for a very long time that you must manage your employees’ feelings to be an effective leader.
That is the heart of them doing an excellent job for you. It’s That connection you and only you as a leader can create.
Being a leader must be earned, and it is never easy. Always remember they work for you, not the company. So, when they either quietly quit or fully resign, they are quitting you, not the company.
At the same time, the employees you have that work hard and go above and beyond may have natural strengths and drive that others don’t, but still. You can easily squash their motivation by handling your leadership responsibilities ineffectively.
It is all too common that I hear about great employees becoming problem employees when the investigation is completed as to why it is always something done by a manager or communicated by a manager that took the connection or drove right out of them.
When you put the wrong fuel into a high-performance machine, you get lowered performance, if not an outright breakdown.
But let’s face it, the idea of becoming a touch-feely leader sounds inherently soft and weak. This sounds distasteful for those who lack empathy or the feels for people.
However, if you think about it. In order to get all the goals achieved, you are responsible for, and if you have the desire to grow and achieve, taking what I share in today’s podcast and making it a part of your leadership style will make your job easier and you much more respected and effective.
Now I know, to the most cynical managers amongst us, anything interpreted as guidance to be kind and nice to employees — at the direct expense of setting aggressive goals and holding people accountable for achieving them. Lead From the Heart? No, thank you.
Listen up. I think you may find greater success in what I share.
So what strategies can managers employ to ensure they’re appealing to their employees’ emotional drive and building a strong leadership connection with them?
Here’s a quick list to get you started:
1. Hire people that fit with the role and with you
The most important lesson I learned about building results-driven teams is this: Make it your intention that every person you interview and hire will have the right competencies to fit your team and culture.
Everyone has work that they’re good at or that ignites their passions. But managers frequently put people into roles that don’t match those talents or passions. As such, he says, “It’s irrational to expect anything but half-hearted effort.”
My training courses emphasize that leaders must resist the temptation of putting someone into a job where they don’t belong.
It’s not about just making a hire. The goal is to hire someone who can wholeheartedly commit to the role. And fit with your leadership needs and culture.
How do I do this?
Using the proper interview technique as I offer in the How to Hire Great People course will get you almost there. Click on the link to get a free version of it.
Not only will you get the full video course that explains how to use a behavioral interview approach you will also gain access to my interview guide that provides you with all the questions you should ask to uncover if the candidate is a behavioral fit for you and the role.
To get even closer to perfection in your new hire selection, you must utilize a pre-employment assessment like DISC or Talassure to confirm they possess the competencies you require for a successful role fit.
Your small investment in using these will save you tons of money and frustration. You will have a very high likelihood of success with a huge reduction in performance issues.
Imagine the time savings of not dealing with performance issues or behavior problems. It’s awesome.
Once again because I’m feeling very generous today.
If you personally have not completed a DISC assessment, use this link to get one for free. Once you see yours, you will clearly understand how to use it for future hires.
2. Connect with them
Many traditional leadership mindsets and opinions believe that connecting more personally with employees will only complicate the leader-employee relationship. But research shows it’s quite the opposite.
Leaders who make a personal connection with employees can inspire their highest achievement.
Authors Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall assert that employees need attention and connection to survive. Their research shows that leaders who check in weekly — and personally — with all team members have far higher levels of engagement and performance and lower turnover.
Research indicates that one very common trait top-level leaders have is the willingness and ability to make the time to connect with their team. They take just a few minutes a week to check in, see how they are doing, and discuss something you know is important to them.
Remember, they work for you, not the company. If you show you have a genuine interest in them, they will become much more motivated to perform at a higher level.
Managers tell people what to do. Leaders drive motivation to want to do it.
Often unknowing and untrained managers use the one size fits all approach of simply telling people what to do daily. That does get some things done. But if you are constantly frustrated by some team members being slow to complete assignments are making frequent mistakes based on what you had “TOLD” them to do.
Check yourself. You are missing a key leadership element. Just flipping your approach from telling to asking is magic.
As an example.
“Larry, you need to take the trash out.”
“Hey Larry, will you do me a favor? Would you have time to take the trash out for me?”
3. Empower them
There is a common misconception that maximizing human potential, and spending time developing people, could compromise productivity.
I wholeheartedly disagree with that assumption.
My experience is that employee output only accelerates when people feel supported in their expansion and career progression.
“Leaders excel when everyone on their team is in an ongoing process of broadening and deepening their capabilities in some meaningful way”
In other words, give them the opportunity to learn and do other things. Train them for expanded roles. Delegate to them. Cross-train them.
Quick story from one of my training sessions this week. A manager in a manufacturing facility shared with me that she had taken my advice and given two of her team members some training on the part of the manufacturing process that they had never asked to learn, so she never thought they wanted to learn much less could even be any good at it.
She showed them the ropes, and to her utter surprise and pleasure, the two of them not only were very good at it, but they were also so enthusiastic that they could now perform that function.
The manager benefitted because she now has two more people that can fill in when production needs to be required—making her life easier and her overtime spend to come down.
She told me that she would never have thought of doing this before.
But after our class, she was willing to try it.
One of her reasons for not doing it before is in her mind; the fact that these two employees had never asked to be trained on anything else meant they did not want to be. That’s a huge fallacy in many managers’ minds.
You see, the bulk of the employee workforce is under assertive and doesn’t feel in their minds it is okay for them to ask for new assignments. So as a leader, you must now look at your whole team for an expansion opportunity and begin scaling their knowledge.
They will respect you more for it, and once again, you are building that strong connection with them. The additional reason why purposefully growing employees is so vital to your team and the organization as a whole. You, as a leader, are now not only growing.
4. Be inspirational without Rah Rah
There are few things as powerful on any of us as hearing our boss tell us they are proud of us. Managers too often disregard how critical this is to people, how deeply it inspires, and why it’s essential to building and sustaining high performance.
Unlike pay and other financial rewards, being praised and recognized is an expression of care, which ultimately affects people’s motivation and inspires them to do their best work.
If we want to see these behaviors replicated, managers must be consistently swift in acknowledging their employee’s value and accomplishments.
I often mention the emotional bank account. Each of your employees has one; to be a results-driven leader, you have to make deposits in them. Knowing that at some point, due to accountability requirements, you will need to make a withdrawal.
Make sure you are making more deposits than withdrawals by simply easily altering your daily approach to catching people doing things right.
Even if it is just them doing their job. It does not have to be some above-and-beyond accomplishment on their part. Just tell them how much you appreciate their work and regularly thank them for being there, even for the mundane things.
This is often where unknowing and untrained managers make missteps. They are in roles with the belief that they must catch things that are wrong and fix them.
But if that is the majority of the feedback you provide, your employees will be demotivated and not like working for you very much. You will be hard to please, overly demanding, and cold.
Some of you may hear this and think well, that’s not me. No one has ever told me that. Sorry partner, it’s not what you think. It’s what they think.
You are likely not clearly aware of their perceptions of you. And if you are in your actions, that manager that points out mostly things done wrong and rarely what is done right is what your people think of you.
Plus, let’s get real. They will never tell you directly with words, but they will tell you with their actions. Underperformance and poor follow-through is a sign that this is how they judge you.
Quiet quitters are judging you this way. For sure, any of your people who have quit for another job just told you that. No matter the reason they gave you.
You see, 70% of the population is conflict-avoidant and will not tell you what their opinion of you is. But they will tell you with their actions and passive aggressiveness. Think about it.
These four tenets demonstrate why people naturally and instinctively respond to managers who care about them personally and support their deep human needs.
Check out our courses to develop from manager to leader at RDLTraining.com
We have a very complete and affordable online training program as an option for you to self-pace yourself through the training.