For many managers, the job is all about holding meetings. Other managers, though, seem to have a problem meeting with their team members. This strategy is a mistake, especially when you take Gallup Poll’s numbers into account. Roughly half of employees have changed jobs in order to escape a bad boss. The details in Gallup’s State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders report reveal that employees often equate bad bosses with a lack of face time and feedback.
For many employees, face time with the boss is what matters. If you can’t meet with your direct reports in person, do the next best thing. Stay in touch with them electronically, preferably via voice or video calls. Gallup research reveals there is simple no substitute for regularly meeting with your team members. Managers who take this one simple step will find their direct reports are “almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees” who feel ignored by their bosses.
Your employees must also feel like they can come to you with any question. Employees have the following levels of engagement regarding this topic:
- Strongly agree they can approach the manager: 54% are engaged
- Somewhat agree they can approach the manager: 24% are engaged
- Agree they can approach the manager: 12% are engaged
Performance Goals and Fairness
Analysts also link higher engagement levels to the process of including employees in setting their own performance goals. In particular, employees appreciate it when their managers focus on their strengths during this process. This emphasis dramatically increases engagement and length of service in a position.
One important detail on this topic regards fairness and accountability for performance. Don’t expect your employees to feel engaged or happy if they perceive that someone else on the team is getting a better deal. Your team members keep track of who's getting what. When they suspect a fellow team member is receiving special treatment, you risk losing your credibility and your sway as a manager.
You’ll also need to engage with your team members when they achieve a difficult goal. It’s more challenging, but also necessary to touch base, immediately after they fail. Because employees are constantly experiencing successes and failure, they need reassurance from you. To keep your team focused and engaged, don’t wait for an annual performance review to talk with them about specific issues. Take the time to chat with them soon after the event.
The other part of responsiveness is remembering communication is a two-way street. When your employees reach out with a question or issue, be there for them. Give them an answer within 24 hours. If that’s not possible, let them know you’ll follow up with them as soon as you can.
These types of interactions with your team members will help everyone feel they are on the same page and engaged in the organization’s goals.