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My best #1 employee engagement and management tip.

By Darryl Stewart, Head of the Herd

This is the most important thing you can do to improve your effectiveness managing your team.

check markEvery super effective people manager I know does this, no exceptions…

Meet one-on-one with each of your key staff regularly to talk over how things are going, give them feedback on how they are doing and allow them to give you feedback on how you are doing and how you could help them further their success.

This can take whatever form seems comfortable for you, but you should have a simple agenda for the meeting, even if only in your head, that you follow.  You should make a few notes, to show you care and to allow you to refer to them the next time you meet.  You should do this every six to twelve weeks with each of your team.  If, like many agency managers, you have too many staff to make this work, pick your best and at least do it with them.  This is the most powerful tip and tool I have as a manager.

If you want a copy of my one-on-one form/agenda, email me or comment on this post and I will be happy to send it to you.  The agenda is not as important as it is to make this a real coaching session that feels comfortable to you.  This is not a session to tell someone everything they are doing wrong. If someone messes up it should be dealt with as soon as possible after it happens.  These sessions are for talking about observed strengths, helping make people aware of what you think they are doing well and could do even better at, guiding the right course for the person’s career and working on goals together.

We all crave feedback and we all want to know that someone cares about our success.   The best managers make time to give each of their team regular feedback; there is no getting around this.  Great managers all have their own way of regularly passing on to their team members how they are doing, good and bad, and showing that they listen and care.  Find your way, do it regularly and you will be a long way towards being one of the rare managers that makes a true difference in the lives of their team.

PS – this has nothing to do with the annual performance reviews that you never have time to get around to anyway.  You do those for the organization, this you do for the mutual success of you and your team member.

  1. Excellent advice Darryl, with a lot of supporting evidence. This activity, which actually makes the whole people management process work, has been a central part of our Performance Management System that we have implemented into organizations since the 1980’s. Besides its positive impact on employee motivation, performance, and the working relationship with the supervisor, it can help to increase the validity of the Annual Performance Review Feedback. A key to making your recommendation work, however, is that it should be a “requirement” of all management, and not an option.