When I was still in an university, my biggest hope for the future was doing work that seriously interested me: to have a job where I’m happy to go to work every single day. And I was lucky. I landed a tremendous, exciting job. Yet over the years, I began to understand that no work will be exciting every single day. Routine sets in and even waking up for work can become a chore.
Some days I want to focus on getting my tasks done and don’t care much about being engaged or productive. While these are my personal feelings as an employee, a good manager must manage also their employee’s feelings. As a manager, you can try to understand what goes on in your employee’s mind and use it to get the most out of your team. Here is a quick peek into one employee’s thinking.
“Be the change you want to see in the world,” said Mahatma Gandi. This inspirational idea can also be applied to a workplace. If you want your team members to but their hearts into their work, you need to inspire them. When I’m feeling down, I’m often inspired by my manager’s absolute passion.. But if I sense his demotivation, it can discourage my work.
If you want your team to stay engaged, you need to become engaged yourself and set a good example for your employees. And while hard to do, it’s well worth it. In 2017, highly engaged businesses saw a 20% increase in sales and 13% increase in customer ratings. If that’s not enough to inspire you, you should not be a manager.
While I understand the importance of increasing revenues and meeting quarterly goals, these aren’t my focus as an employee. An abstract number won’t inspire me. I need to know how my work relates to the work of others or how exactly it helps our customers. I need to collaborate to other people to get more done.
As a manager, you can take collaborative work to the next level by using communication tools like Weekdone. Loom at the way deverus has improved their engagement. Shawn Rucks, the CEO of deverus has said that he requires “everybody to do a narrative on Friday about their week – what were the main wins and challenges, what would you do differently and *what do you need help with.” Every employee has access to this information and everyone knows how their work helps others in the team and what they should focus on.
Meaningful feedback is everything. Like most young people, I need to know how I’m doing. And while an “old-school” manager might think that millenials and younger generations are needy and too demanding, it would be better for them to accept and adapt to the reality where most of the workforce is millennials.
My personal motivation greatly improved after we set up weekly one-on-one meetings with my manager. We meet every week to discuss both of our progress and plans and decide in advance how we can help each other. Sometime it takes an hour, sometimes 15 minutes. But the motivation and feedback really increases my engagement.
If you strive to be a great leader, you must see the benefits of both giving feedback to me, the employee, and receiving my ideas and constructive criticism in return. Feedback is a tool for continuing growth and in addition to motivating people it makes sure they are more invested in their work.
Still, there are days when it is hard to get out of the bed and go to work. There will be more of these days in the future, I am sure. For both me and my manager and everyone else in the workforce. But a good leader makes sure that their team has as few morning like that as possible. And if it hard to be engaged yourself, don’t be afraid to let your employees see that you are also just human. Just like they are.