What Makes Your Employees Tick–and Why Do You Care?

ListeningAs a manager and leader, you know what motivates you. But do the same things motivate the people who work for you? Understanding what motivates others is critical if you want to be an effective leader and manager. And to do that, you need to take time.

Taking the time to have a conversation with your direct reports can:

  • Build rapport—establishing a one to one relationship demonstrates that, as a manager and leader, you are interested in the person’s goals, dreams and values. As a leader, I would make personal appointments with each person on my sales team to ask them about what mattered most to them. I wanted to know them so I could be a more effective leader for their success.
  • Improve performance management—rather than wait for a performance appraisal, open a conversation on abilities, organizational perceptions and standards, and give constructive feedback.
  • Create a development plan—learn about what he or she needs to be the best in his or her role within the organization and create a plan to meet those needs. To me, leading and managing meant creating the environment for the success of my teams. Sometimes I had to fight for development dollars in the budget, but it can really make a difference in performance and loyalty.

There are many ways to facilitate this conversation but I always start with what I call active listening. Listening is not just the absence of talking, but the presence of attention. When people feel heard, it opens the way for a more quality conversation and better understanding.

Learning what matters most to the people that work for you creates a more productive working environment. In my experience as a manager of high performing teams, it also creates loyalty and motivation for excellence.

So, set up some time, ask some questions and make a positive difference for your employees and your organization.