Everyone it seems – and this really isn’t much of an exaggeration, is it? – is on their phones all. The. Time. Or texting. Or creating/responding to email. And as a result, you may have noticed that we don’t talk to each other much anymore. Face-to-face. Eye-to-eye.
And this is a problem (especially for millennials and members of Generation Z) because a lot is lost when we hide from each other: not only can misunderstandings rise, but a true human connection is lost.
This hiding behind technology can hurt the manager/subordinate relationship, of course, but it’s not just tech that can wreak havoc: too many managers and leaders spend too much time in their offices and behind their desks. Or taking meetings. Or creating reports.
They are otherwise engaged and AWAY from the very people who need to see them the most: the people who report to them.
Instead, realize that talking to your team members face-to-face, engaging with them every day (even in meetings) is by far the best type of leadership possible.
Here’s why. Take a look below.
- Being present shows you care.
Have you ever been out with a friend who has his phone out all the time and constantly looks at it. How does that make you feel? Not too important, right? But what if your friend keeps the phone in a pocket? What if he glances at it only if it rings/gets a text and then doesn’t answer the text/phone? Doesn’t that make you feel as if you’re your friend’s main focus? Don’t you then feel seen? Connected – truly connected – with your friend? Don’t you feel that you matter?
The same goes for how often you talk to your subordinates, especially when you do so one-on-one: you’re in effect telling the people you manage that they matter to you.
- As you talk, listen.
As in really listen. Head out to the floor or cube farm and ask questions about how projects are going, but don’t settle for just “things are fine.” Keep asking. Is the person happy with progress? Is there anything she could use? Does he have any ideas to help the project move more quickly?
Ask about families. Any fun trips planned? How did his daughter’s graduation go? She found work and moved out already? How’s the empty nest going?
One-on-one conversations, whether about work or non-work should be a top priority: these chats can truly help you and your team member feel more connected on a human level.
- In meetings, make sure everyone can speak.
Many managers don’t lead meetings so much as command them. Instead, genuinely ask for input, especially when asking for solutions to problems. (Announce it a policy that every idea is welcomed and no guffawing or other derisive reaction will be allowed.)
Ask your subordinates for input as a matter of course. After all, they are the ones doing the bulk of the work on whatever projects/programs/goals your department has and they know more than you about how things are progressing.
In addition, don’t be afraid to delegate work. Doing so shows your trust in your team and it also provides individuals the chance to grow and learn.
- Provide this same consideration to your temporary workforce as you do your regular employees.
Treating your temporary staff as much as possible like your regular staff can go a long way to ensuring they enjoy working with you, work diligently for you and provide all the value they can.
So go ahead: talk to them. Ask them for their insights because being “new blood” may help them to see things in a differently than folks who have worked with you for a while can.
And when you need contractors/temporary workers at your company, work with Helpmates to find them for you. Contact the branch office nearest you to learn more.