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As a manager, you’re more senior than the team you manage. You’re their leader, and you’re responsible for them but, at the same time, you want to be able to connect with them. It’s important that you can engage with your employees so they respect you and you can encourage them to do their best work. However, when some people automatically regard their managers with suspicion, it can be hard to get through to them. You need them to see you as a human being, so you should make an effort to seem as human as you can. Here’s how you can engage and create proper connections.
Understand What Your Team Really Does
You should start off by making sure you have a good idea of what your team does. This might seem like something obvious that you’ve already mastered, but that’s not always the case. Some people come into a management position without having really had a lot of experience of the work the people they are managing are responsible for. Making sure you educate yourself of what they do is essential so you can help them when they need it and so you understand their responsibilities. If your employees are learning scientific injection molding, you need to go on a course to learn the same things as them. You should be able to do the practical things they can do, as well as knowing the theory and being able to manage their work.
Help Your Employees to Grow
While not everyone wants to progress through a career, many people want opportunities to develop at work. Simply doing the same thing every day with no chance to learn something new or advance to a different position can be boring. With no opportunities to grow, employees can end up looking elsewhere for fulfillment in their career. Helping your employees to develop their skills and knowledge is a good way to connect with them and show that you appreciate them.
Recognizing and Rewarding Hard Work
It’s always important to reward your employees for hard work. However, some managers only ever offer rewards when their employees go beyond what’s expected of them. While it’s a good idea to reward initiative and drive, it’s also important to recognize that those who work hard to do what’s expected of them every day are still putting in a lot of effort. Regular rewards and recognition should be given too, whether it’s on an individual basis or for your team as a whole.
Engage Outside of Work
Some managers might not like the idea of socializing with employees outside of work. But if you want to humanize yourself for your team, you should be prepared to engage with them in a more social and relaxed setting. A work outing can still have a certain air to it that makes it different to going out with friends from outside work. You don’t have to get drunk with employees or discuss your personal lives in-depth. You can have dinner, go bowling or start a book club.
If you want your team to respect you, you have to be willing to get on their level. You might be in a senior position, but you can’t act too superior.