As a Manager, how would you describe the current state of each of your team members?
According to the January 2021 article in the Harvard Business Review, “41% of workers feel burned out.” They attribute this to factors including longer work hours, adjustment to remote work, pressure to balance this with family demands, feelings of job insecurity, and fear of unsafe work environments. (Note that this survey and article were published prior to the events of January 6, 2021.) That aside, feelings of sadness and anxiety, an inability to concentrate, and a decrease of motivation were reported. Even worse, 37% of those surveyed report “having done nothing to cope with these feelings.”
So, let me ask: How are your employees doing? Do you know? If not, it’s time to find out and – Take Action!
To connect in meaningful ways, managers can take action in five key areas:
- Connect with each team member. This may require that managers reach out more frequently to their direct reports, and in some cases, daily. When calling, be clear that it is to keep the lines of communication open and let them know you are there if they need anything.
- Manage stress (yours and that of your direct reports). While flexibility allows us to adapt in times of uncertainty and stress, routine and predictability provide stability. Block an hour a day to answer questions from your direct reports. Limit the calls, or video meetings, to 10-minutes each, allowing others to connect with you one-on-one.
- Maintain team morale and motivation. Consider a 15-minute team meeting check-in for each morning. Encourage participants to share one word to describe their status, state of being, or intention for the day. Follow-up individually as needed.
- Track and communicate progress. Provide feedback, and coaching: help your direct reports identify what worked, their contributions, and celebrate their strengths.
- Identify, redirect and/or eliminate non-essential work. Encourage your direct reports to share challenges, problems, and early indicators of issues. Frame your invitation that the plus one—a solution—is not required.
Sharing feelings or personal challenges with a manager or leader may feel uncomfortable, or too risky, for some. Respect boundaries. Encourage team members to identify someone they can trust with whom they can connect: a colleague, mentor, or qualified coach.
Demonstrate your own vulnerability. As Dr. Brene Brown writes, “We are open to uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure because that is the path to courage, trust, innovation, and many other daring leadership skills.” And I think we can all benefit from that.
What do you think? As manager, what actions are you taking to connect in meaningful ways with your team members? I’d love to hear from you about what you’ve tried. Reach out to me here at Simply Lead Coaching or on LinkedIn.