How did you make your staff feel today?
We have recently been sharing with you some practical leadership actions around when people perform at their best around the themes of people feeling supported, valued and safe; creating a ‘team environment’; supporting learning and growth; empowering staff and building autonomy; ensuring clarity of roles and expectations; and creating meaning and purpose. This list also potentially provides a really useful in-the-moment checklist for your daily interactions as a leader with your staff.
So, take a moment to reflect on an interaction you had with your staff today or yesterday – maybe a regular one-on-one catch up, assigning some new work, a performance conversation or a team meeting. Now, reflecting carefully on what you did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say in that interaction, do you believe you had a positive impact in one or more of the following ways – did they leave the interaction:
- Feeling genuinely supported?
- Feeling that their work was valued?
- Having felt safe to express their views?
- Feeling that the work they are doing is meaningful?
- Clearer about what was expected of them?
- Having learned something?
- Feeling empowered?
- Feeling part of a team?
Are there a few ticks against this list? Ideally you would have at least 3 or 4 ticks at least. If not, what might you have been able to do more of, differently or better?
Or did you (unwittingly) have a negative impact in any of these ways – did they potentially leave the interaction (be honest with yourself):
- Feeling unsupported by you?
- Feeling that their work or opinion was not valued?
- Uncomfortable to say what they were thinking?
- Feeling that their work is not having a meaningful impact?
- Confused about what is expected of them?
- Feeling stuck in a rut?
- Feeling micro-managed?
- Feeling isolated and disconnected from their colleagues?
A mark against any one of these items has the potential to de-motivate your staff, particularly if such experiences are more than a one-off. You may well have experienced these yourself from a Manager and can remember what it felt like – the old adage of ‘they won’t remember what you did or said but they’ll remember how you made them feel’ certainly holds true. For better or worse, Managers have significant levels of power and influence – your staff are continually watching you and listening to you and creating meaning for themselves. An ill-considered word or phrase, a lack of acknowledgement, a particular look or poor body language can all be interpreted negatively and result in a range of emotions. Of course on the positive note, things you do or say can equally have a positive impact on people’s emotional state and generate tremendous energy, commitment and motivation.
Of course this responsibility can feel a little overwhelming – nobody is perfect and you are not going to get it right 100% of the time. However the challenge over time is to ramp up the positive impacts of your interactions and to reduce or eliminate the negative – perhaps using the above as a reflective checklist might help if you want to work on it.
Nobody ever said being a Manager was easy!
Want some tips on how to have positive interactions with your team?
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