Fellow allbusiness advisor Lisa Haneberg recently had a book published that offers some really useful management advice in general but also great tips for developing your people. Here´s what it says about chapter two, "Get intimate with your employees": "Connected employees care more about their work, are more focused, and produce better results." So how does that happen? First, as a manager you must be willing to make that commitment, the one that puts your people´s work lives front and center. You have to actually believe in what Haneberg says-"Employees want to connect with their managers and feel they are trustworthy." Think of your own life. Isn´t it easier to be yourself with the people you trust? If employees can be themselves without worrying all the time about whether their true selves are good enough for the workplace, then they´re probably going to be more effective in their jobs. Why? Because instead of worrying about their hair or double chins they´re focusing on the work at hand.
I think one of the stumbling blocks for a lot of managers is they´re inability to take the time that´s required to actually get to know their employees. After all they´ve got quotas to fill, performance appraisals to write, new recruits to interview, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes managers confuse getting to know their employees with becoming their friends. Not only are the two very different, but one can create some rather dicey issues. There are some schools of thought that say you should never mix business with personal life. Well, if that is so, then how can you possibly get to know people? It´s called boundaries. There´s nothing wrong with finding out what people do in their spare time and then from time to time asking how that part of their life is going. It´s when a manager becomes too curious and asks questions that are not only inappropriate but perhaps even illegal.
So you need to figure out how you´re going to get to know people so they´ll trust you, want to do great work for you, and know when they can come to you for help. The first thing to do is open your door and then if you are approached with a problem, don´t ignore it or pass it off to someone else; take responsibility, invite your staffer to sit down and if the time isn´t right, schedule a good time there and then so that the individual can leave your office knowing at the very least that he has a meeting to look forward to, a time during which he can talk.