Picture the following…
A team member walks up to the Manager’s desk and asks, “Can I have five minutes?”
Manager, “What, now?” without looking up from their computer screen and continuing to type.
Individual, “Erm, yes, now would be good”
Manager, “Just give me five minutes.” Still without looking up from the screen leaving the individual stood there at the desk. The individual has no choice but to walk back to their desk because the Manager engages in no further communication.
This has all taken place in an open office environment where others can hear and witness the conversation between the two.
How do you think the individual might be feeling at this stage? A little bit embarrassed perhaps or even slightly annoyed? It may have taken an enormous amount of courage for the staff member to walk across and ask for that five minutes – they may even have had a sleepless night worrying about how they were going to approach the Manager about the matter in question.
The manager’s response, or lack of it, was clearly poor. To not stop and look up from the computer and to carry on typing is sending a clear signal to say that, “I don’t really care”. The impact that this will have on the relationship is potentially quite significantly negative.
Being a manager who cares is important so that your team members are able to perform at their highest level. Showing that you care leads to a dynamic work environment that is fun, effective and free of blame or failure.
So how can you show that you do care as a manager?
- Be genuinely interested in your team. This is not to say that you should pry unnecessarily in their lives but that you should know just enough about them to be able to ask questions and express interest.
- Listening and communicating without being distracted. We listen not only with our ears but also with our eyes and body – make sure that you are present and engaged when communicating with your team.
- Be open – this is not just as simple as having an “open door policy” but can involve things like having lunch on a regular basis with your team, spending time to speak informally with staff, and being open to constructive challenge.
- Take time to problem-solve and resolve issues and feedback outcomes and ways forward.
- “Bat” for your team – this means to be able to defend and stand up for your team on issues that really matter to them. This will engender a sense of loyalty that will be unrivalled.
Are you caring enough?