November 16, 2023
How Managers And Leaders Build Connected Teams
In an increasingly fragmented workplace managers and leaders are doing their part to build strong teams. HR is busy putting connective infrastructure in place such as learning and development resources, team-building events, and cultural message campaigns – and, managers want connected teams too. Although their goals have more to do with productivity and measured deliverables, managers understand the correlations between engagement and working smart. According to Gallup, highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism, a 17% increase in productivity, and 23% higher profit compared to business units with unengaged workers.
At the center of high engagement are healthy team relationships. Managers can enhance HR efforts to boost relationships between team members under their authority as well as the relationships they have with individual employees. Getting managers on board to think and take action relationally, helps their people become part of a team that wants to be there and does more work.
Connecting Efforts To Outcomes
Engagement prevents apathy, this state of not caring about outcomes produced in the workforce. But what if apathy has already taken root? Managers can absolutely turn things around with their people. Apathy results when people feel they don’t control outcomes, and so nothing really matters in terms of what they do, or how well they do perform. Managers can lift a team’s engagement and resolve by connecting employee efforts to outcomes that matter to them.
Employees need to be educated and reminded of exactly how what they do impacts their success. To do this effectively managers have to know what the employee considers success. Do they want increased pay, more recognition, more responsibility, more freedom, or promotion? Managers can ask their people what matters most to them, then map for employees the path from individual task load to their professional goals. Managers can improve their ability to have these outcome-related talks with the help of management and leadership coaching. A coach who has led employees down a similar thought process can walk managers through the discovery/response process until they can confidently hold impactful conversations with their team.
Connect Efforts To The Mission
Managers must demonstrate how employees’ work brings value to others. That can be especially challenging in organizations deploying any combination of work arrangements that may include on-site, remote, and hybrid models. Employees need visibility into how their work affects others on their team or the customer. Managers must educate employees and connect the dots to bring the manager and employees together on the same page. Managers should remind teams constantly about how what they individually and collectively do contributes to their mission. They also need to cultivate a love of their mission among employees. They can share customer stories as well as information about existing problems the organization is working to solve. Hard data that hits employees in the heart can ignite a passion for the team’s mission. If managers relate the mission to personal values and passions employees have they can strike chords that result in action.
Align Managers And Teams
Managers should take opportunities to build group relationships whenever possible. They can strengthen employees’ attitudes toward one another and toward their mission in their everyday tasks. The leaders lead the charge and need to walk the walk as much as they talk the talk. Employees can see through a façade, and then an authentic leader does more harm than good when it comes to driving engagement among teams. If it’s obvious that the leadership personnel do not intrinsically share a drive toward the mission or team connection, they will fail to gather efforts from employees.
Managers must show employees that they care about them, and want them to succeed. They should demonstrate their commitment to employee wellness and maximizing employee strengths by helping individuals on their team, access the highest level of support in personal and corporate areas. Being approachable and communicative with employees is the first step. Open lines of communication give managers the information they need to pursue employees and develop them accordingly. Managers should create a safe space for their team members to provide feedback without fearing retaliation. Employees who feel their feedback matters are much more engaged and driven to produce results.
Sometimes managers don’t realize that their behavior contradicts their message. Behaviors that managers can align to strengthen engagement may include the following.
Purchasing Habits – A manager champions worker wellness by including wellness initiatives in their budgets. Or a manager supports DEI by purchasing from diverse businesses.
Work Ethic, Or Willingness To Sacrifice – A manager performs with the same commitment they expect from their team, I.E. staying late when needed, giving up time to work through a problem their employee faces.
Manager Attitudes – A manager salutes employees for their contributions and gives credit to others for the win. A manager consciously chooses positive word choices rather than approaching ideas and challenges from a negative angle.
Managers are increasingly stressed and pressed for time, but making time for connecting with personnel should take priority status, especially as employees face stronger challenges at work and interpersonally. People want to feel like what they are doing with their time makes a difference for the people they serve and the people they serve with. Managers can make a habit of the following tactics to ensure their team’s connection and engagement.
- Morning motivational meetings
- Team rituals centered around sharing and connecting with one another
- Recognizing publicly the efforts of individuals at the moment
- Encouraging others to publicly acknowledge their peers in the moment
- Building a culture of encouragement and modeling, encouraging behavior
- Prioritizing one-on-ones with personnel
- Being authentic, with humor and transparency
- Holding people accountable in a way that makes them want to be better versions of themselves
- Taking an interest in individual employees’ career ambitions
TaskHuman’s mobile coaching platform supports managers with experienced leadership coaches who can guide them toward strengthening their teams. With relevant and specific insight they offer on-demand, coaches can bring about immediate improvements that expound as the coaching relationship continues. Connection and engagement can happen even, and especially, through steep challenges or spread out workers.
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