How Successful Managers Boost Employee Performance

“The manager is either an engagement-creating coach or an engagement-destroying boss, but, both relationships affect employee behavior.”  ~ Ken Royal – Gallup Workplace

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The landscape of our livelihood is rapidly changing. For many of us, it feels more like white-water rafting and survival than the strategic plan, day-to-day operations and commerce we’ve worked so hard to build. Things behind the magic curtain are different. Everybody from the investors and business owner, multiple levels of leadership all the way through to the front-line employee, are experiencing some level of challenge and uncertainty. We seem to be building the model as we go.

The customer landscape is also changing. We are not as comfortable or patient as we once were:  Tempers run hot, outbursts are more frequent and fatigue is high. We can’t afford to miss an opportunity or have our team be anything but the best. So how do we shore them up and help our employees perform at their best? How can managers be successful leaders?

Now is the time to be mindful, disciplined and resilient ~ Emotional Intelligence is more than a “thing”. Managers and leaders with high EQ are skilled in how they lead, connect and adapt. We may be in unfamiliar territory, but there ARE things we can do to engage employees and motivate high-level performance. We can still create a positive customer experience. How? Leadership. Connection. Resilient Flexibility.

  1. Lead:  People who follow a leader, have been assured that they are valued. It takes more than a paycheck.  Every time you plan, communicate and act, include the 4 emotional needs of employees:
    • Trust: Be predictable, even in unpredictable times. Up to 50% of time wasted at work is due to lack of trust.  Paul Berg from Gallup wrote, “Leaders don’t need to predict the future, but they must be predictable now and in the future. It’s hard to trust an erratic leader.”  
    • Compassion: Say it loud, and back it up with policy. Employees are juggling new challenges and responsibilities – just like you. They need know that their manager understands and wants them to succeed.  
    • Stability: 2 elements = practical and psychological. Gallup’s Berg said, “. . . the core of stability is psychological security, particularly the need to know where a company is headed and that one’s job is secure. This is why you must clearly define and communicate your decision-making principles”.
    • Hope: an essential asset through turmoil. Hope fosters resilience, innovation and better decision-making. It speaks to realistic optimism.  “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward
  2. Connect: Successful Managers strive to continually coach and offer balanced feedback. According to recent Gallup findings, “The only viable management style going forward will be ongoing coaching conversations that establish a rhythm of collaboration and create shared accountability for performance and development.”
    • High EQ leaders are great coaches. They stay engaged and connected with the players on their team. They frequently share feedback: the wins and the challenges.
    • Connection better equips managers to align day-to-day work and raise performance. Just having the conversation empowers workers to overcome obstacles, focus on strengths, take accountability and proactively improve their engagement.
  3. Shift:  Adjust and adapt. This is not the time to be rigid or stubborn. High EQ leaders include Appreciative Inquiry into their employee conversation. It opens dialogue and gives managers richer perspective into the employee experience. How to shift? Be Curious.  When you find yourself in frustration or obsessing on the problems:  pause – breath – and ask, “What more can I do to get the desired results?”  
    • Be mindful of the power of your words.
    • Make curiosity a habit.
    • Use your words in ways that add value: a) Ask Generative Questions and b) Foster a Positive Frame.

Focus on what YOU CAN DO to make a positive difference for yourself, team and clients.  

Lead. Connect. Shift.

Then get ready for breakthrough thinking, productivity and high engagement!

Gallup References: