Managers – The secret key to unlocking engagement

Published: 1st August 2019

Managers – The secret key to unlocking engagement

In growing our business we’ve learned that being a manager isn’t just about bossing staff about to ensure that they achieve all work based targets in a timely manner. In fact, it couldn’t be further away from this, and we’ve seen managers that think it is to set themselves up for failure. Instead we believe management is about knowing what makes team members tick in every element of their life. What are their ambitions outside of work? What’s their favourite television programme? What music do they like?

The more a manager knows about an employee, the more significant effect that they can have on their team.  The now infamous report published by MacLeod in 2008, states that people join an organisation but leave managers. Interesting words that still resonate over ten years later and illustrate the extent to which managers play a key part in employee engagement.

In essence, managers need to delve more into the values of their team members, if these values align with the business values, success is more likely.

To get this information from people, we have to ask the right questions and listen carefully to the answers given. As a guide, asking the following questions to learn more about an individual’s values should work:

  • Ask the team member what is important to them about their work, what they want from their work and what they looks for in their work. On average you will  get 4-8 values, make a note of them in their words
  • Ask them to think of a specific time at work when they felt really motivated. What was it about that situation that motivated them? (Add any values not previously mentioned to the list)
  • Show them the list that you have made, and ask them if they had work that encompassed all of these values, would she enjoy it, or is there anything she would like to add.
  • Ask them to rank the values either A, B and C, where A is absolutely essential, B is important but not essential, and C is nice to have.
  • Check that nothing important has been missed by asking them whether they would want work that gave them all the A and B values. You would expect a very clear ‘yes’, both verbally and non-verbally.

Once the above steps have are completed, we find it useful to drill down a little to find out what they mean by each of their values, and what the line manager should do (and perhaps more importantly) avoid doing so the values are met. This whole process usually takes approximately an hour, and at the end of it, managers have some insightful information as to how to motivate staff.

Insight from Rachel Hannan

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