If you want to be thought of as the best manager your employees have ever had, you have to care from within. Your people have to PERCEIVE you as genuinely giving a damn about them AS PEOPLE — not just robots (headcount) who show up to generate numbers for you.
Do you go straight to your office without saying hello in the morning? Think about the impact that has on your people. IDEA: SAY HELLO TO EVERY ONE OF YOUR DIRECT REPORTS, LOOK THEM IN THE EYE, SHAKE HANDS (OR GIVE THEM A FIST BUMP IF YOU’RE SO INCLINED), SPEND 30 SECONDS TO TALK ABOUT THEM, BEFORE YOUR ASS HITS THE CHAIR.
And make sure you don’t forget about those who are working remotely. Before opening your email, text message them. “How was your weekend?” “How’s it going this morning?” or a link to something of interest to them. It’s easy to feel isolated and disconnected when you’re not in the office with the rest of the team. Let them know you CARE about them too.
The number one word used by salespeople to describe the best sales manager they ever had is CARING, according to a 2017 white paper by SalesFuel. And in my experience, the same is true for most other employees as well. That’s one reason why Emotional Intelligence is so important to a manager’s skill set.
It’s okay to let your guard down once in awhile. Let your team see you as a CARING human being.
When you talk with one of your people, where is your mind? If you’re thinking about what report you have to finish next while your best employee is spilling their guts about something terrible that happened to them, that’s obvious to the person in spill-mode. Especially if you ask them to repeat anything.
Start by doing this: The next time one of your people wants to talk, see if you can stay 100% focused on what they’re telling you. Listen all the way through to the end. You’ll find the most important facts are – AT THE END.
But Lee, my employees don’t share anything with me! Yeah, well maybe there’s a reason. Too much risk and no reward in it for THEM. They don’t perceive you care enough to listen. That’s not how to instill confidence or loyalty.
Mastering empathy can help you in your other relationships too. So practice it at work. Get empathetic. If your team perceives you care about them, they will reciprocate. And they will be far more likely to work a little harder when you need (ask) them to.
Keep it genuine. Keep it professional. Keep it consistent. Keep it friendly, keep it sincere. Keep it caring. The more you care, the more your people perceive you care, everyone will reap the rewards of a better work culture. You just have to dare to care.