Getting to Know Your Team, Part II

What if you want to get to know your team but you don’t know how to get started or what to say? Research shows that managers who hold regular team or 1-1 meetings with their employees are almost three times more likely to foster engaged employees than managers who don’t. (Harvard Business Review and Gallup)

Here are five topics you can discuss with your employees:

  1. Work environment: Begin where your communication memo left off. Ask, “How it’s going? What’s working, what could be improved and how can we improve it?” Don’t set false expectations of what you can and cannot do. Be sure to find roles that employees can also play to improve the work experience. Remember, an important part of employee engagement includes opportunities for individuals to contribute to the success of the workgroup.
  2. Communication: Discuss each person’s communication preferences, such as email or face-to-face, written updates or regular meetings. Share your preferred style and see where compromise can be made.
  3. The team: Ask what is working well within the team and what could be better. Listen to suggestions for improvement. If an issue arises involving another colleague, consider coaching one or both employees. Asking about the team dynamics may be the only way you will become aware of an issue.
  4. Workplace flexibility: Explore flexible work options with employees. You may have an employee who would function better working at home one day a week or alternating start and stop times. Be mindful about the feasibility of altering a schedule without negatively impacting the work of other colleagues on the team.
  5. Work skills: Openly ask questions about individuals’ skills that aren’t required in their current roles. Experience gained in prior positions may prove to be a valuable asset for future career opportunities. Spend time assessing the breadth, depth and versatility of individuals. They will appreciate it.

Get to know the skills, capabilities and interests of each employee. The more you can tap into their full potential the more you will enhance their engagement and performance – and that of the team.

If you are having difficulty with any aspect of people management, the EAP may be a great resource for you. An EAP counselor might prove to be just the right sounding board for you.

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