It’s that time of year again, where we need to make our New Year’s resolutions. Get the self-help books out and start that list. Most of us make personal resolutions, but what about New Year’s resolutions for our professional lives?
Investing in our employees is the best investment we can make for our community, so why not resolve to make improvements engaging our employees. Whether you manage thousands or a few employees, improving organization through creating a culture that truly engages employees is a great investment of time.
I encourage all TCMA members to reflect on ways to improve as leaders. Here are a few ideas for New Year’s Resolutions to improve employee engagement:
- Be Present – How many meetings do you attend where you don’t have your cell phone by your side? It is very distracting when someone you are having a conversation with looks at their emails or text messages during your interaction. So, leave the cell phone or computer in your office and be mindful and fully engaged in the dialogue.
- Be Visible and Listen to Employees – What better way to earn loyalty and respect than by being a genuinely engaged listener? As the saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Make a resolution to walk around and get to know your employees and what motivates them to do great work. In larger organizations, it can be challenging to have direct contact with all levels of the organization, so have other mechanisms in place to obtain this feedback.
- Focus and Clarity – Lead your team with thoughtful focus and clarity. The busier we get at work the more difficult it is to explain “why” we are going a certain direction. Take the time to clearly define priorities and your expectations. Even if the message is difficult, employees want to know the Five W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) about the organization’s direction. Being honest, consistent and clear prevents employee confusion and anxiety.
- Thoughtful Perspective – Foster a culture of curiosity and encourage your team to ask good questions. Many organizations fall into a traditional mindset that views questions as disruptive. Make a resolution to provide a safe environment for thoughtful discussions that encourage dialogue, which results in a culture of creativity and risk-taking by asking good questions. This is not to be confused with indecisiveness. A culture of thoughtful perspective will provide support for the decisions because staff can express their ideas.
- Support and Grow Your Team – Richard Branson, the Founder of Virgin Airlines, subscribes to the philosophy, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Investing time to develop your employees can pay dividends in greater levels of engagement and will create a culture that inspires and retains top performers. Ask yourself if you are coaching your team in a constructive manner so they know you have their back? Does your staff know where they stand? Don’t wait until the day of the performance review to provide direction.
Resolve to be the kind of leader that city employees what to follow and have a great 2018.
(Article submitted by Shelli Siemer, assistant city manager, City of Allen. If you have interesting news or helpful topics to share, please submit them to Kim Pendergraft at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep the information to fewer than 750 words.)