If you were to stop and list your business’s most valuable assets, what would make the list? Where would your employees fall on that list? Your employees are who take care of daily operations and customer interactions. How your managers connect with your employees can have a direct impact on their performance and your business, so how can they do it better?
Get to Know Each Other
Building a connection with other people works best when you take the time to get to know one another. It’s a two-way street. As a manager, you should open up to your employees and let them get to know you. Establish an open-door policy to promote communication between management and employees. This will help them feel more comfortable reciprocating the same openness. That said, you don’t need to spill deeply personal thoughts, ideas, or events. Be human and genuine, and allow your employees the same.
Check in With Them
It’s not always enough to let employees know they can come to you. Sometimes the real value comes from you going to them as a manager. When you interact with your employees where they are working, you can more easily get an idea of what work is like from their perspective. This can offer valuable insight and is one of the purposes of taking a Gemba walk. The Gemba walk was developed within Japanese companies in the latter part of the 20th century. By regularly taking Gemba walks, managers can get a glimpse of the work their employees do as it is happening, rather than relying on reports and commentary. The better the understanding you have of the work your employees do, the better you’ll be able to connect with them when discussing their work.
Listen to Them
When managers talk to employees, they expect to be listened to. It’s vital to reciprocate that expected attentiveness when your employees talk to you as a manager. Employees want to be heard—it’s pivotal to how valued they feel by their employer. They can tell when you aren’t paying attention to what they’re saying or don’t want to hear from them, and it doesn’t feel good. Practice active listening when conversing with your employees so they know they are heard.
Your employees are your business’s most valuable asset. Managers who connect with their employees help foster employee loyalty and can boost morale. Getting to know the employees, checking in with them, and listening to them can help managers connect better. Your employees are human, so treat them that way.
Read this next: How to Be a Better Supervisor to Your Employees