Effective conversations with employees always lead to highly engaged great performers.
There are six things a leader can do to make office conversations more powerful. Easily and aptly summed up in “CAREER”.
Care to Know Me
This is where it all starts. If this is taken for granted, the employee will sooner or later feel disengaged and alienated. Employees don’t want to be seen as numbers and especially not as hangings on the wall.
Employees need to feel that someone in the organization genuinely cares for them and it starts from getting to know who they are outside the office.
Do you know their dreams and aspirations? Do you know what keeps them awake at night? Do you know their challenges and victories outside the office?
Everyone is different. It is an old notion that there are as many personalities as there are people. Though, different, we all need acceptance in order for us to thrive in any environment, especially in the corporate setting.
I love this quote from Dr. Seuss. This is basic, something from children’s literature but no matter the age or position, is holds trues and very important for all leaders and employees to understand and apply – acceptance of imperfections, acceptance of certain mannerisms, acceptance of differences, acceptance of weirdness.
This is displayed in the office of my previous boss, HR Executive Director for Asia Factory Operations. A quote by Dr. Seuss.
In the office, do you treat the janitors, guards and subcontractors in the same way you treat your boss and CEO?
If yes, very good! If not, think again.
Everyone deserves respect. Sometimes, we are not aware how our actions affect others. Some corporate innocently disrespectful behaviors include but are not responding to messages (email, sms, etc.), interrupting someone as they talk, talking behind other’s back (office gossip), and the list goes on.
Yes, I know, 99.9% are not models nor actors. However, employees also need exposure. Exposure is something that’s rarely in the development plans but it can do wonders to the engagement of your team.
Employees need to be exposed to vision, mission, facts, projects, programs, summits, etc. They also need to be exposed to top leaders so they can observe how they talk, how they think and they have opportunities to ask questions.
This is similar to the concept of kiddie field trips. Why do schools engage in field trips? Why do parents spend for it? For enrichment, to spark ideas, to inspire. The same with employees. Employees, don’t wait – reach out, volunteer, ask!
Coaching. Counseling. Mentoring. People and organizations call it differently but it only boils down to this – employees need to be enlightened. Sure, top performers have ideas but with enlightenment, these ideas can grow “from a little seedling to a forest”, as my good friend Julius Uy puts it.
A good frequency of these sessions could be weekly, fortnightly or monthly, depending on the individuals. Anything less than once a quarter is not healthy and not helpful.
Finally, recognize who deserves recognition, when this is deserved and where many can witness.
If you’ve done all the above, chances are you’ll have plenty to recognize! That’s the good news and the reward for all your hard work.
Recognition programs are awesome and prestigious, however they happen mostly quarterly or annually. DO NOT wait for that. Recognize real-time. It can be during monthly townhalls, daily team huddles or on the spot. But of course, some (or all) those you recognized real-time better make it to these glamorous awarding programs.
More power to you and your team!
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