Do you love your work, but not your job?
Chances are your supervisor has a lot to do with how you answer that question.
In 2015, Gallup did research into what makes a great manager. The results were stark for anyone who works with people.
— Only one-third of people are actively engaged with their job, giving their all to the work, feeling good about the outcome of their day and feeling like they work for a person and a company that cares about and invests in them.
— Half of the people who quit a job do so to “get away from their manager to improve their life.”
Jim Clifton, the CEO of Gallup told Inc magazine, “the single biggest decision you make in your job — bigger than all the rest — is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits — nothing.”
Building better leaders in the workplace is part of the Studer Community Institute’s mission to improve the quality of life in the community.
SCI’s session on June 13 — “Leading With Impact” by Autumn Morris of Studer Group — aimed to give leaders of all experience levels tools and techniques to be the kind of leader people want to work for.
“The sign of a good leader is that when the leader is out of the office, the team performs well,” Morris said.
Often we move into a new leadership role because we are good at our job.
“How most of us get our first supervisory job is our boss quit,” said Institute founder Quint Studer. “Leadership training is not usually part of that process.”
But when we get into that leadership role, the things we loved about our job — and the things that we were very skilled at — seem farther away.
As a supervisor, not only must we be masters of the technical aspects of our job, but also we must master the skills of managing and motivating other people, especially when it comes to leading people through change.
“Your best employees will struggle the most with change because they’ll feel like their going backwards,” Studer said.
It’s not something everyone takes to naturally. And it’s something few of us get the training to handle.
Attendees got advice on how to:
— Manage pushback to change from employees.
— Build and keep the right team.
— Manage and assess productivity.
— Turn difficult conversations into successful ones.
Especially in the working world of today — regardless of industry — change is constant. As leaders, role modeling flexibility will help your team develop it. Having the right team — and keeping that team together and motivated — is critical to your business’ success.
Building, cultivating the team
At the session, attendees brainstormed the traits of a good leader — including good listening, forgiveness, authenticity, empathy. Morris then asked attendees if their employees would describe them with those words.
“Don’t feel like you have to be all of these things today,” Morris said. “Some of them come with experience and time.”
That includes knowing how you communicate, and how your team members communicate best; setting clear expectations and goals; building accountability and transparency into those goals; knowing when to be the coach, the cheerleader, the connector and the challenger for your team.
Whether you inherit a team or are able to build it from scratch, being mindful about who is on the team and how those people work together, is very important, Morris said.
“Engagement of the employee begins in the interview process,” Morris. “As we’re selecting them, they’re selecting us. We have to remember that.”
— Using behavior-based interview techniques can help you dig into how the person will fit into your culture, Morris said. Ditto for the peer interview, which give your existing team a sense of ownership in the hiring process.
— Streamlining the onboarding, or new employee orientation, process is as important as a solid hiring process.
“I love a leader expectations meeting on day one,” Morris said. “Here’s how to work with me and here’s what I expect.”
— Rounding on employees helps you cultivate the employee reward and recognition, spot issues before they become big problems, build a personal connection with your team and boost employee engagement.
— Monthly meetings with each team member to round with them, review performance for the month, cite areas of professional development and confirm the priorities for the coming months. These meetings should be the employee’s responsibility to set the meeting. And it is your responsibility as a leader to follow through on the good and bad that was raised in these meetings.
— Be mindful of the we/they — passing off an action onto senior leadership. Leaders must take ownership of the times you can say yes to something, and the times that you have to say no.
— Remember to reward and recognize employees, in everything from thank-you notes to spouses and partners to anniversaries with the company. Not every reward has to be financial to be meaningful to person receiving it.
— Re-recruit and retain the high performers; reassure and develop your middle performers; rehabilitate or remove the low performers.