In one of my previous blog posts “People leave managers, not companies”, I described 3 common reasons why employees leave their managers and I gave some tips on how to avoid this, for example by building up rapport.
In this article I will elaborate on the importance of personal attention for each of your team members.
Ask any manager to make a list of their work priorities, and chances are this list will contain almost nothing but action points related to personal performance. He or she probably wants to be able to plan more efficiently, to get that endless to-do list finished. Or perhaps they want to complete a new training course and develop further within a certain field of expertise, rather than honing specific management skills. Something that is also often mentioned is the desire to appeal to certain employees who systematically perform below their potential in terms of efficiency.
However, this is a fairly controversial issue that is often wrongly addressed. Many managers believe that performance in the workplace takes precedence. This is incorrect, it’s just the concept of ‘performance’ is sometimes interpreted rather unilaterally. Performance consists of much more than just good figures, high profits and meeting deadlines:
ensuring employees are happy and committed is also an essential part of your ability to be successful as a team leader.
No leader has to rely on themselves
In order to attain your managerial goals, you are largely dependent on your team. There is no way you can take on all the work yourself, and your task does not consist of delegating and overseeing work for nothing. This will undoubtedly not always be easy; after all, you are dealing with people and people are subject to a certain level of unpredictability.
An employee could become unwell, leaving work lying around. Employees may also experience difficulties in carrying out tasks for personal reasons, for example lack of knowledge, miscommunication about the task itself, or even an unconscious uncertainty about their skills.
A human being is not a machine. They are not made to simply upload data and assume that the data arrives and is processed correctly. In order to get the best out of your employees and to keep their performance levels as stable as possible, it is very important that you know the person behind the employee status.
What do you actually know about your team members?
Do you know the strengths and weaknesses of each team member? Do you know what each team member prefers to do and also what he or she doesn’t like doing? DO you have some awareness of how each employee regards individual privacy? Are your team members happy with what they do on a daily basis? The chances are that many will not be able to answer these questions positively.
It is often argued that there is no time to spend on such “trivial” matters because of the immense workload people are under. There are also managers who believe that it is better to maintain a certain distance from their employees otherwise the boundaries between the hierarchical relationships will be removed. In their opinion, this could then have a negative impact on the department’s performance. But is this really true?
Good performance and personal attention go hand in hand!
Have you ever been complimented on the way you completed a difficult project? Then you probably already know that warm feeling that sneaks over you. Not only did you achieve a business goal, but you also received positive confirmation of your performance. This made achieving the goal twice as good. And your self-confidence got a boost.
When it comes to your team members, it’s no different. Although they are, of course, able to feel completely satisfied with accomplishments themselves, a little personal attention and a compliment every now and then definitely gives them an extra push. This makes an employee feel appreciated, which has a positive effect on his or her self-confidence at all times.
This will also help your team member feel that they are able to trust you, allowing any problematic situations to be intercepted at an early stage. An employee who has something on their mind is much more likely to let you know if you create a feeling that you are making things negotiable, rather than a team leader who constantly demands performance only without paying attention to his or her employees.
Personal attention leads to self-confidence and self-confidence is one of the most important prerequisites for a general feeling of happiness. And it has now been proven time and again that happy employees perform significantly better.
Not paying enough attention to an employee, however, can lead to dissatisfaction, to the feeling of being ignored, to mutual distrust, and to a feeling of division. Team members won’t feel they are able to contact you as much with any problems, which increases the chance of situations escalating unnecessarily. Communication is extremely important within an organisation; it enables people to understand each other, learn from each other, and motivate each other.
Paying personal attention to someone doesn’t have to take much time
You can already expect to see considerable results by simply giving a compliment to a team member, or focussing on a task or personal goal they have accomplished. Or in a lunch break, you could join a group of employees. In the beginning it can be a bit uncomfortable, but practice makes perfect!
An annual team outing is also a great opportunity to learn more about your team members. Spend a little of your time with them – after all, they give a large part of their time to you. A small gesture can have a major impact on your team’s motivation and therefore also on yours.
Communicating in a structured and systematic way with each of your team members is also a great idea.
How do you do this? By having 1-on-1 conversations on a regular basis. But I will explain that in greater detail in the next blog article and/or e-book 😉.
In the meantime, watch our free training now.
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