The growth of a business is dependent on the productivity of individual teams within it. The productivity of these teams depends on the dynamics between team leaders or managers and the team as well as among team members. During the pandemic, with most employees working remotely, the connections among team members and between team members and the team manager have changed.
There is less opportunity for interaction and Zoom meetings are often focused only on specific work matters. To avoid Zoom fatigue, meetings are short and scheduled only as necessary. Opportunities to develop relationships further have lessened.
A Feedback System From Employees
It is now more important than ever for companies to regularly check on the health of the relationships within teams get feedback on their relationship with their respective managers. This will catch any issues and provide the opportunity to address these before they escalate. Professional online training in leadership coaching will help managers whose subordinates feel that they lack proper guidance and appreciation.
A feedback system will make employees feel that the company values their well-being as long as the company follows through by acting on the feedback received. This creates a company culture of caring. Having a company culture that is toxic is one of the major reasons for workers to quit their job. This usually stems from poor management.
Feedback From Managers to Employees
A survey among American employees shows that 85 percent appreciate it when their managers give them feedback. A majority or 51 percent want to receive constructive feedback that is a mix of positive and negative observations. A lower percentage, 46 percent, only want to hear positive feedback. A small percentage, three percent, want to know only about negative feedback.
The attitudes differ, however, by age group. Among the most experienced employees working for more than 20 years, 60 percent want a mix of positive and negative feedback and 40 percent want to hear only the positive. Among those aged 25 to 34 years old, 40 percent want mixed feedback while the majority or 55 percent want only positive feedback. The possible explanation is that this age group is more pressured to do well in the job because of new family responsibilities. They are also on the first rungs of the corporate ladder and need to feel more secure. Findings show that the youngest employees aged 18 to 24 years old have less need for positive feedback compared to the others. The possible reason for this is that they are not as engaged in their jobs because Gen Z is known for being multi-hyphenates, meaning they do various freelance jobs or gigs even if they have a regular job.
It is, therefore, important for managers to get to know their team members and customize their feedback in a way that will be most effective for each individual. Feedback must inspire and motivate to improve productivity. Even if the individual prefers to hear only negative feedback, this must be constructive to lead to positive change. It must not be a scolding.
Clear Two-Way Communication
85 percent of employees believe that a good manager will spend an adequate amount of time communicating team objectives and individual objectives clearly. The manager must present the team with a clear and actionable vision. This is time well spent because only then will the entire team and each individual know what is expected of them. Without clear goals, there is no clear direction for day-to-day work. There will be low productivity with a lot of wasted time and effort.
Almost all or 90 percent of employees state that a good manager must listen to their opinions and consider these in decision making even if they are contrary to the manager’s opinion. This makes employees feel that they are valued as a part of the organization.
Managing with Empathy
A majority or nearly 65 percent of employees want a manager that personally cares about them. They want a manager who ensures that they are not overburdened by their workload and that they are able to have a work-life balance.
Another study among leaders in human resources (HR) states that a manager must have empathy or the ability to put an employee’s behavior and performance in context. This manager must earn the employee’s trust to be able to probe and understand the causes of certain behaviors, and possibly help the employee find solutions. This requires the manager to put herself or himself in the employee’s position.
Along the HR heads surveyed, 85 percent stated that the pandemic has made the need for empathy among managers more pressing than ever. A separate study shows that high empathy from a manager increases an employee’s productivity threefold.
The other characteristics that employees appreciate in a manager include honesty, trustworthiness, positivity, supportiveness, confidence, strong leadership, sharp decision-making, and strong skills in their field. It is important for companies to ensure that managers have these traits, or to equip them in areas where they are lacking.