Managers play a central role in the growth and development of the team they manage, as well as the individual members of their team. They are responsible for many things, like facilitating the team, building the work culture, bringing out each member’s potential and nurturing their talent, and making objective, fair decisions.
When managers are unable to meet their responsibilities, it’s not just the team that suffers; the whole organization feels the burden. The best employees slowly disengage until they decide to quit. The employees who stay will perform the minimum standard at best; at worst, they will actively sabotage their work.
It is the leader’s duty to manage their team well and increase employee engagement to boost productivity and retain talented employees. To do this, a manager must keep in mind several things.
Set Clear, Challenging Goals
The team needs specific, clear goals in the same way a builder needs a blueprint to form a house. Without goals, each member won’t know what tasks they need to perform and what they are trying to achieve with their efforts.
Managers need to be transparent and meticulous in creating and communicating the organization’s goals. Not just that, they also have to relate this on a team and employee level. For example, the company’s goal is to be the number one brand in the industry. How can ordinary employees to contribute to this?
It is the leader’s responsibility to come up with team goals that stem from the organization’s greater goal. These team goals must be specific, measurable, realistic, and time-bound. Most of all, they must be challenging to lead to greater performance, according to Edwin Locke’s goal-setting theory. The higher the goals, the more rewarding it is to complete them.
Setting clear and challenging goals improves employee performance and allows better and more specific feedback that can boost employee motivation and good behavior.
Create a Healthy and Open Work Environment
The employees’ willingness to attain the organization’s goals determines their job motivation. But what sustains it depends on several factors. One of the most important factors is the work environment.
To create this environment, managers must encourage open communication and cooperation between employees. They must listen to the team and give value to the each member’s contribution. Most of all, they have to be authentic and transparent. They should not be afraid to put their trust in their employees and ask for help when they need it.
A healthy and open work environment empowers employees to generate more ideas and confidently share them with the rest of the team. It also creates a culture of teamwork, where each member is working not just for individual gain, but also for the benefit of the whole team. In an environment like this, even disagreements can be had respectfully and constructively.
Managers are also responsible for creating a safe and healthy work environment. They must be proactive in making sure that the organization complies to safety standards set by the law, such as ensuring employees pass workplace drug tests, maintaining cleanliness in the office, and preparing for emergency situations.
Provide Valuable Trainings and Opportunities
It’s part of the manager’s duty to ensure that each and every member of the team is equipped with right knowledge and skill to perform their job well. As the organization grows, every team and employee is expected to develop with it.
Greater goals will demand higher skill levels and expertise. Rather than looking for new talents, managers should nurture the ones who are under them. Providing trainings and opportunities will bring out employee potential and increase proficiency. Employees will not remain stagnant.
In a classroom, developmentally advanced students need to be constantly challenged and engaged to keep them interested. The same goes for your most talented employees.
Most of them aren’t really in it for the money; they can find that at other companies. What they want is constant growth and development, as well as appreciation and recognition for their exceptional performance. You can keep your best employees if you can secure those without faltering.
Retaining top talent is a continuous, laborious job for managers, but the returns are more than worth it. “Employees with all three—good fit, high engagement and 10+ years at an organization—dominate performance. They perform 18 percent higher than the average employee and 35 percent higher than a worker who lacks all three elements,” says a Gallup survey on why the talented employees leave.
Recognize Effort, Reward Achievement
Abraham Maslow, one of the most influential psychologists of all time, proposed a hierarchy of needs to explain the human motivation. At the second tier of the pyramid are the esteem needs—recognition, status, importance, and respect from others. Maslow posits that all humans have a need to feel respected, accepted, and valued by others, which leads them to engage in activities, like a job or a hobby, to gain recognition.
Most employees don’t enter and stay in a company for the salary alone. If it were only that, people will not make such a big deal about entering a reputable company with a good work environment.
Employees want to be appreciated and valued for their work. When they are respected and accepted by their leaders and coworkers, they take pride in their work and are more motivated to do well.
One mistake that many managers commit is failing to recognize employees who have worked hard and only rewarding those who have exceptional achievements. While employees have different needs that motivate them, being appreciated for working hard is a universal need. Managers can reward exceptional performance, but they shouldn’t forget those who do the daily grind.
Build Your Dream Team
As a manager, you should take the lead and be what you want your employees to be. Instead of competing with your employees, you must work to make them better and put your trust in them. The leaders are the links between the organization and the employees.
Rarely do employees build direct relationships with the organization. They build their loyalty and commitment through their leader. If their manager doesn’t do their job, then employees will leave and look for a good organization with responsible managers.