3 Ways to Help Your Team Start Strong and Focused in the New Year

A new year. The opportunity to see things as new, fresh and exciting. Is this the atmosphere you encourage in your work environment? Or will your employees come down off their holiday high and feel like they are back at the grind?

The more engaged employees are in their work and the workplace, the greater their productivity, performance and loyalty. Re-engaging employees in the new year is a great opportunity for management to make some important changes.

So, as a new year welcomes you and your team back to the workplace, here are three ways to start your year off strong, focused and engaged.

  1. Reconnect personally with your team. Make a point to get to know your employees in 2019. To effectively manage and coach your employees, it is important to know their strengths, interests and values. It is important to know what engages and disengages them about their jobs and the organization. It is critical to know how they best communicate and learn, and what their most and least favorite aspects of their jobs are. Gather important information about each of your employees to understand them better and to know how to best connect with them and coach them. Employees want time with their managers – use this increased time to get to know them and to develop a plan to connect with them more effectively going forward. People quit people before they quit companies. What is one thing you can do to more personally connect with each member of your team?
  2. Include your team in creating shared 2019 goals. Goals are important – they provide direction, clarity and focus. By including employees in the creation of goals, or more specifically team goals, they feel more included, valued and part of the organization. A culture that constantly asks employees for input not only benefits from greater employee loyalty, but also from expanded ideas that come from empowering and expecting employees to actively think throughout their days. How will you involve your team in the creation of shared goals?
  3. Commit to sharing more performance information. You want your employees to be more focused and engaged, but few feel that way when they work in the dark. They can’t connect their work to its impact or value. Work with employees to identify the key performance metrics that will help them asses their department’s performance and their individual progress and impact. Develop a performance dashboard by role or department to help employees see their personal or team impact/progress on shared goals, and to encourage discussion, dialog and conversation. What information will you share in 2019?

Every employee wants to add value and make a difference. Many times, we may unintentionally dissuade them from doing this by doing things that discount their value or disconnect them from their team or organization.

Take Action
As a new year approaches, commit to reconnect with them, get their input for shared goals and commit to sharing performance results. Not only will including employees generate new and great ideas for you, but they will feel more valued and appreciated for being included in the conversation. Start the new year off strong.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Move Learning Off the Back Burner

Return to the Blog

Do You Know Your Employee’s Engagement Language?

By Jay Forte

In 1992, Gary Chapman wrote The 5 Love Languages, a book that illustrated how everyone primarily feels loved in one of five ways. Knowing our love language, and the love language of the important people in our lives, helps us better understand how to share what we need and how to better understand what others need from us. This awareness has changed countless relationships.

Since we spend so much time with the people we work with, it made me think about the relationships between manager and employee, one of the most critical performance relationships in any organization. Despite the importance placed on the ability for managers and employees to connect, the Gallup Organization’s State of the American Workforce report showed that nearly 70% of employees are disengaged in the workplace.

Perhaps even more disheartening is that disengagement levels are so high because of ineffective relationships between managers and employees, something that is seemingly so easy to fix. According to the Gallup, one in two employees who leave an organization leave because of their manager.

Perhaps the primary item missing from these manager-employee relationships is language. It’s not just about communicating; it’s about communicating effectively.

What if we could identify the engagement language that an employee needs so a manager can get it right more often? Knowing that we are all different and unique, why would we think a one-size-fits-all approach to connection, engagement and to making employees feel valuable would be effective?

I think there should be four types of employee engagement languages:

  1. Words of appreciation – some employees look for a compliment or supportive applause; it activates their inner higher performer. When an employee who thrives on being noticed for his or her hard work and contribution receives words of appreciation, it creates a great sense of personal value.
    • THINK: Who on your team needs this?
  2. Personal time – some employees like and need the one-on-one time with a manager. They feel valuable and important when their manager intentionally makes time to teach, guide or support in a personal way. Though all employees should have access to their manager in an intentional way, some employees are more actively engaged by personalized attention and time.
    • THINK: Who on your time needs this?
  3. Awards and gifts – some employees are more competitive than others and find trophies, awards or gifts more engaging. These can become tangible representations of effort, validation and applause that encourage and drive engagement.
    • THINK: Who on your team needs this?
  4. Development opportunities – some employees crave doing more, like having more responsibilities or having a larger influence. Selecting them for new and challenging activities, tasks and responsibilities activates and engages them.
    • THINK: Who on your team needs this?

Our greatest impact, influence and connection with our employees can only happen when we take the time to really know them. But how can we do this if we don’t take the time to know our own abilities and liabilities? Gaining clarity about our own attributes can help us more easily tune in to others. And doing this can help us learn their engagement language to better activate their engagement and inspire greater effort.

Important Questions from a Coach

1. What is your employee engagement language?
2. What is one thing you can start doing today to become more in tune with your employees’ engagement language?
3. How can you effectively touch each type of engagement language for your employee(s) or team?

 

Parts of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn, March 3, 2017.

Consider reading How to Succeed in Changing Times

Return to the Blog

Life’s Little Gifts

By Jay Forte

I got off a plane, just coming home from a week of travel, and the first person I see in the terminal ready to board my plane on the way out, was a high school friend I haven’t seen in 30 years. What a great gift.

I checked into my hotel and discovered they had just updated and modernized all the rooms, and I had the first completed room – everything was brand new. Another great little gift.

Life’s little gifts are like the frosting on the cake. By itself, the cake is good. But cake with frosting is better. A little gift of frosting can completely change the experience.

Life’s little gifts can take on a variety of forms. A little gift could be the spectacular double rainbow after a storm, a highway with no traffic, the scent of the jasmine as the evening approaches, the smell of fried onions as the local steakhouse gets ready for the dinner crowd, the sound of kids laughing in a playground, the empty seat next to you on your crowded flight, or your favorite food for dinner.

Imagine with me for a minute. What little gifts has life shared with you lately? What things have you noticed that have added just a bit more, a little something extra to your day, your work or to a relationship? And how many more are there to see?

Most of the time we are in “do, achieve and get done” mode, moving through life as something to complete instead of to experience. Life becomes a destination, not a journey. See, the greatest thing about the journey part of life is that is where the value in life is. It is in experiencing the people, the places, the things and the world. It is in the little gifts that make each day and each moment just a bit better.

Most of us put the blinders on and plow forward. We say that makes us focused. Life is serious. We have things to do and places to go. We have people who need us to get things done. I have met countless people in my travel and my coaching who cannot remember one thing about their previous week other than they got their work done. No awareness of life’s little extras, little gifts or extra value. Life was something to check off as done, not as experienced. There was no connection to something extraordinary that made their moment wiser, greater, happier – better. That is what life’s little gifts are here for – to make things better.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. What is the most recent life’s little gift you noticed and celebrated?
  2. In what way can you be life’s little gift to someone else?
  3. How will you make time in your day to stop and notice life’s little gifts?

 

Consider reading Life’s Little Moments

 Return to the Blog

Thinking About Your Value

By Jay Forte

You are not valuable because of what you do, contribute or invent. You are not valuable because of your age, ethnicity, income or position. You not valuable because of your political affiliation, faith or role in your workplace. You are valuable because you are. Period.

We live in a world of standards and comparisons. We have been led to believe that we move along the value meter based on the number of friends we have, the posts that get read, pictures that are liked, videos that get watched or people who vote for you.

But the truth is that you are valuable because you are here, and you are you. True, you have things to contribute – to discover, develop and live what is best in you to make your life and our world better – but that is not why you are valuable.

Deep in us – if we tune out the world and tune our attention inward – we have a divine spark that entitles and empowers us to show up fully, boldly and confidently as we are. Though there are those who insist that some are more valuable than others, the way we advance the success of our lives and our world is to see and support the value in each of us. Everyone matters.

A key place to see this in action is in our politics. How many of you have disassociated or refused to see the value in (said another way – find fault with) another because they vote differently than you? How many of you have stopped communicating with someone who has different values or beliefs than you?

This raises an important question: why would we think that finding our way in life (as a valuable member of society) would require us to all think and act the same way?

One of the things that makes our American experiment challenging is we are different by design. We are not like many countries where their citizens are similar – in look and beliefs. We, on purpose, welcome others who are different. It takes greater effort on our part to learn to see the value in each other when we are different, but it is the key to our collective survival. We must learn to work with each other, and that requires each of us to get past our differences and find our common thread, ultimately that we are each valuable.

So, remember: you are valuable. So am I. You and I are different on purpose, but the spark of value in each of us remains.

See this and your view of the world will change. As it changes, so will the world.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. How can you learn to see the value in who others are, not in their accomplishments?
  2. How can you learn to see your value and not live in a constant state of comparison, allowing it to dictate your value?
  3. Think of someone whose value you may not have seen yet. How can you focus on it to see it today?

 

Consider reading Curiosity and Critical Thinking

Return to the Blog

RSS feed
Connect with us on Facebook
Connect with us on LinkedIn