When was the last time that you connected with your team on an individual level? Do you take time outside of your usual performance review process to acknowledge and connect with them? If not, you should. Maintaining a strong rapport with your staff is a critical part to managing and advancing your team and their efforts.
A strong rapport with your staff can reveal inefficiencies in the organization, departmental processes, and help to identify issues within your staff that may result in turnover if adjustments are not made. Communicating openly and regularly with your staff also allows for the generation and implementation of new ideas, guidance opportunities, and employee recognition. Not sure where to start or how to fit it in with your other countless duties? Here are a few quick tips:
- First and foremost you have to make it a priority. As with anything on your to-do list, if you don’t make it a priority chances are you won’t make time to meet with your staff. Mark it on your calendar as any other important appointment and stick to it.
- Keep it simple. Sometimes informal meetings can be even more productive and revealing than a structured meeting or progress meeting. Step outside of the office to a mutually comfortable setting such as a restaurant or coffee shop and make yourself available and free from distractions such as your phone and email.
- Prepare for the discussion and remain open minded. Do your homework. Be sure to acknowledge specific accomplishments your employee has achieved since your last meeting. Be open to their feedback, both positive and negative. Often times the best ideas, changes, and suggestions come from those who work in the trenches day in and day out. Remain objective and avoid becoming defensive of any constructive criticism.
- Make a follow up plan. Did you discuss ideas or changes that may need to take place? Are there things that you may need to investigate further or additional tools that may be helpful to the team? Be realistic and up front with what your team member can expect from you. Give them a timeline in which you plan to consider the points of your discussion and when they will hear back from you. Create an action plan for simple executable items to get the ball rolling.
- Thank them. Make sure your employee understands that you appreciate them making the time to meet with you and let them know the best times for them to reach out to you if they have things that they would like to discuss further. If your staff feels that the meeting was something done out of obligation rather than a genuine interest in their development at the organization, they’ll be less likely to engage with you in the future.
Even the best leaders and managers can experience failure if they don’t have the support and dedication of a strong team behind them. Keep in mind that every member of your staff brings an added value to your organization and deserves recognition and acknowledgement on a regular basis. For more information on employee recognition, click here.
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Trillium, a national leader in staffing and recruitment is a valued staffing partner to over 5,000 companies nationwide. Trillium is privately owned by Oskar René Poch.