As a manager, you have an important job to do. A job with big goals. High expectations. Important deadlines and milestones. In the day-to-day blur of working your to-do list, it’s hard to focus on the “people” stuff. We’re so swamped with actually getting the work done that it’s tough to find the time and energy to manage the complexities of a dynamic team.
How do you tap into your team’s full potential? Research and experience shows us that keeping a focus on your people yields great rewards: higher employee engagement, focus, productivity, and satisfaction. Your people do their best work when they feel valued, supported, and connected.
The good news is that there are quick, simple (and free!) ways for you to increase your team’s output, efficiency, and morale. As you begin each workday, make it a habit to center on these questions to help keep you focused on your team:
What does my team need from me today?
Keep a pulse of your team’s attitude. Know when they’re feeling good and when they’re experiencing obstacles. Think about what information and support would make their day a little easier. Don’t underestimate the power of a morning huddle or weekly email highlighting priorities or need-to-know information.
Who on my team is currently experiencing roadblocks?
Ask your team to share their struggles with you. Think about each of your team members and understand what issues your folks may be facing. Reach out to them to let them know you’re thinking of them and working to help them. This will help you establish long-term trust with your people, and will help build a culture of accountability across your organization.
“Give someone a very specific opportunity to go above and beyond. Chances are they’ll rise to the challenge and will give you ideas on new ways to utilize their strengths.”
What exciting challenge can I offer someone today?
People experience higher productivity when they’re given a task that requires them to growth or stretch their own abilities. A meaningful challenge can bring your team member to the next level by showing them you trust them and empowering them to think and act bigger. Give someone a very specific opportunity to go above and beyond. Chances are they’ll rise to the challenge and will give you ideas on new ways to utilize their strengths.
Who should I recognize today?
A person who feels appreciated will always do more than is expected. Take time to recognize the good work you’ve noticed in someone, remembering that a quick email or short conversation is an easy and effective way to supplement your formal reward and recognition system.
How do I want my employees to feel as they end their workday?
Your employees thrive at work when they see meaning, purpose, and value in the work they do. Help them connect the dots—make sure your employees see the bigger picture and are connected their contributions to the team’s results. Employees that feel satisfied and valued for their role on the team are more personally invested in its overall success, and are usually the folks that keep the team highly motivated and engaged.
Countless case studies show that when you focus on your people, you’ll activate them to do their best work each day. These five questions won’t give you all the answers, but they’re a start in helping you center your focus on the well being of your team so you can start seeing better results. It may take a bit of time for you to develop your own style and get into a comfortable operating rhythm, but each day you’ll be crafting a team culture that fully utilizes your biggest competitive advantage—your people.