Employees should be happy, satisfied and driven by personal involvement in what they do.

Have you ever wondered what managers should care about most? Natalia Laskowska preparing for this podcast, has asked this question to herself and some other managers. Let’s remember that managers should “lead by example”. It’s crutial, what kind of person they are, what kind of example they give and standards they set.

Hi everyone, 

Have you ever wondered  what we – managers – should care about most?

Preparing for this podcast, I’ve asked this question to myself and some other managers. Most opinions come down to such things as: getting tangible/solid/measurable results from our work, achieving our goals and developing our organizations

Naturally, that is what most of us want and what we aim for.  But sometimes we don’t realize how important is the way how we will actually get there. The things that need to happen to achieve our goals. 

And when they are actually achieved? How do we define “achieving goals”?

We tend to think our goals are achieved when our employees perform their duties in the right way, when they  reach the planned targets and meet our expectations. We usually want our coworkers to go above and beyond. We’d love them to go an extra mile but only because they want to do so. But for this to happen, our employees must be well motivated and committed. No question, productivity and growth of organizations relies upon well-motivated teams.

So, what I, as a manager, should be most concerned about?

My answer is – employees should be happy, should be satisfied and driven by personal involvement in what they do. And it’s me who should make it happen, who should motivate them. I should be able to use their potential, develop it and work in a way that reassures them they are in the right place.

What we must bear in mind here is that all this largely depends on us – their manager. Let’s remember that we should  “lead by example”. So it’s crutial what kind of person I am, what kind of  example I give and standards I set. 

Some time ago, I came across some research surveys. In one of them, 50% of respondents said that at least once in their careers they had left their jobs because of their line managers. No wonder there is a saying – “people  join companies, and leave managers”. This definitely should not take place.

Another research I still recall says that managers have an impact on as much as 70% of their employee’s involvement. It follows that it’s us, managers, who play a key role in building employees’ job satisfaction.

So, why do employees quit then, despite all their managers’ attempts to be the best version of themselves?

Because managers often fail to notice in time when their employee’s satisfaction begins to shrink. They don’t see it as there is no proper communication. They have no knowledge who they really work with, let alone what potential their workers have.

And the solution is pretty simple. This problem and a lot more issues can be addressed by regular conversation during the 1:1 meetings.  This kind of meetings can be really strong and powerfull  management tool … as long as they are well conducted. Just getting together and talking may not always work like a properly conducted 1:1 meeting.

So what are 1:1 meetings and how to hold them?

First of all, regular 1:1 meetings provide an opportunity to build a relationship between a manager and an employee. 

*For us, managers, this is the time when we can get to know our workers, their interests, personalities, values and life motivation.

That’s right – motivation! Everyone is different, everyone is driven by something different. There is no single recipe for how to motivate all people. Everyone’s individual motivation is influenced by their personality, skills and interests. So how can we motivate people if  we don’t really  know them? That is why we need to get to know each other and build a relationship through regular meetings and honest conversation.

1:1 meetings also give us a chance to give and get feedback. When did you ask your staff: what do  they think about your performance at work?

*Experts say a true leader is the one who asks his workers to evaluate him as a manager. 

Hardly anyone does it, and this is a huge mistake. If your work routines do not give you much chance to ask such questions, your 1:1 meeting is a good moment to get valuable opinions about you. Perhaps a straight question “What do you think about my work?” is not the best idea as no one wants to risk being blacklisted. But, asking some questions like:  what I could do to support the team, to help them being more effective, to perform better – that may open a treasury of knowledge and tips for us – managers.

Moving on to another benefit that 1:1 meetings can bring –all managers want their best people to stay in their teams. 1:1 meetings definitely  help job loyalty. Nowadays, employees highly value having development opportunities.  It is during 1:1 meetings, when we can learn about our people’s ambitions and discuss their career paths. We can also discuss with them what kind of skills we think they still need to improve to meet our expectations. We can also try to come up with some new tasks or projects that would be important for both sides – for employee being a development opportunity and for me, manager,  as it may add some value to the team’s performance or even have a real impact on the company’s  growth.

Going forward,, 1:1 meetings may help us spot challenges our employees or teams are facing and come up with necessary improvements. As managers, we can give tips on how to act in a given situation. That wouldn’t be the case, if we didn’t talk to our employees on a regular basis. Probably, we would learn about these problems only when they’ve become much harder to handle.

You should probably notice, that I’ve been talking for a while already about what 1:1 meetings are and the benefits they bring, but I still haven’t mentioned reporting, discussing task statuses or efficiency execution.

The underlying purpose of 1:1 meetings is no other than to improve workers’ efficiency. That’s for sure.

But we can do that in a number of ways, not necessarily through detailed discussion and positive or negative feedback on task performance. It’s good to bear in mind that 1:1 meetings are for employees. It’s the employee who should even own the meeting. The unwritten rule of 1:1 meetings is to allow 70% of the talking time for the employee and 30% for the manager.

So let’s be careful and avoid doing or saying things that might discourage our employees from sharing their opinions. Still, just avoiding  conversation killers won’t open them up. 

So How to encourage our employees to talk?

Worth mentioning are active listening techniques, such as paraphrasing, mirroring, appreciation, clarification and summarizing. It is also worthwhile to learn the rules and techniques of giving feedback. All these things will help secure an inviting atmosphere for our employees to open up.

*I often hear from managers that their staff are reluctant to share opinions, giving offhand, indifferent answers like “Everything is OK”, “I don’t need anything”. 

Well, in the end of the day, knowing the above-mentioned techniques, it is only up to our resourcefulness how to mix them and what topics to touch upon or which questions to ask to change their attitudes and make them share their opinions, experience, ideas and worries. But it is a hard job. Learning to create an atmosphere of security and trust may turn out to be one of manager’s biggest challenge

It may be equally hard to maintain such confidence through our actions and support we give our employees between meetings.

Building trust takes a lot of personal commitment, but it pays off. In return, we get our employees’ support, loyalty, involvement and readiness to exceed their limitations.

We get loyal and trustworthy partners.

In my work experience, I have had the luck and pleasure to work with such partners.

For me as a manager, my people’s development, their deepening commitment and, in consequence, their growing efficiency, not only fulfilled my expectations. On top of that, I was happy to see our meetings inspire others to self-develop, excel in achieving goals or surpass my expectations. 

*It takes quite a lot of  time to reach this stage. It won’t happen overnight.

We have to learn to find a good rapport with each individual team member – how to get through to them and listen to them.

We have to create our own 1:1 meetings agenda and learn to observe it together with people we meet.

We have to devote our time to 1:1 meetings and learn not to look for excuses to cancel them.

*All in all, it is me, the manager, who should cherish this routine 

This is how I started this podcast and this is how I wish to conclude it. A lot more can be said about 1:1 meetings. 

Becoming aware how important and beneficial these meetings are for us, managers,  and our organization is the first  step to success.

What we get is:

The workers’ loyalty

Their commitment

Their readiness to exceed their limitations

Their support for us as managers

Partnership in collaboration

and many more…

If you wish to learn more and explore the topic from its practical side, contact us at SaunaGrow.com.

Listen also at: