You and Your Employee – Be Interested I was once asked if being the only woman on the executive team was intimidating. I said no. My male counterparts, the board, nor the CEO intimidated me. The people who intimidated me were my employees! I realized early on that my employees had the power to make or break me as a leader, through their knowledge, their performance and their relationships with others. How effective I was directly related to how effective my employees were. That was intimidating! But it kept me on my toes. That knowledge kept me interested in my employees – who they were, where they came from, what their dreams were, what motivated them, what challenged them, what they needed to grow and to be happy. Luckily, this came easy for me because by nature I am a people person, always wanting to learn about people – who they are, where they come from, what their dreams are, etc. But being interested in other people doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Unfortunately, the only person that many people are interested in is their own self. But to be effectively connected to your employees, you must be genuinely interested in them; actually care about their well-being and their success. Consider this: 20 years of human resources experience offered me a bird’s eye view of many different leader and employee relationships. What I learned over all those years of first hand observation was that the most successful leaders, the ones who consistently achieved the highest results, had the best producing team and had the lowest employee turnover, were those leaders who had the closest relationships with their employees. They were connected to their peeps! They were interested in them. They paid attention to them. They cared about them. We spend 2/3 of our life at work. Think about it, that’s more time spent with the people at work than with our own families. How can we not be interested in the people we spend that much time with? You’ve got to be a pretty selfish, egotistical person to not care about people who you work side by side with, rely upon and trust (I hope you trust them) to help you get your job done. Studies show that employees who believe their boss is interested in them and cares about their well-being will be happier, more productive and more engaged in their job. You ask questions about them and you listen. Being interested in your employee means that you care about them as a person, it’s not just a means to an end result. How do you show interest? Here are some examples:
- When you walk in to the office in the morning, instead of plopping down in front of your computer and mushrooming in your office for the rest of the day, walk around and acknowledge your employee’s presence. Look at your employee, smile (that part is real important) and say, “good morning, nice to see you!”
- After a weekend in which you knew your employee’s child had a big game, inquire how the game went.
- You learned that your employee’s mother was in the hospital. Ask your employee how his/her mother is doing.
You over-heard your employee struggling with a customer. Ask your employee if they need your help; even if it’s just to vent their frustration.
- You’ve learned that your employee may be unhappy in his/her position. Ask them about it. Find out why and what would make them happy in their role.
- Your employee is about to achieve a milestone success. You know you should do something for them but you don’t know what. Ask them what types of recognition they would appreciate.
- Ask them what their goals are and how you can help.
These are just a few examples of ways that you can show interest in your employees. Pay attention to what’s going on with your employees and you may find that the opportunities to show your interest are endless. When this happens it suddenly becomes a whole lot easier to maintain interest and build that connection. Tweet (http://twitter NULL.com/share)