I was discussing two different managers with their boss. Manager Number One led a highly successful team. Manager Number Two was struggling. Their director was convinced that the struggling manager needed to go back to basics, to make sure that his staff was following all the policies and procedures that the other team did automatically. He thought that the manager had become sloppy and too involved with his own individual contribution.
My response was that might be true, but the real difference in success, I believed, was emotional. I had interviewed Manager Number One's entire team and found a common theme: they knew that he had their backs and would do anything to help them succeed.
"Studies have shown that warm managers
consistently outperform more detached leaders."
As I told the director: "That manager is like a Marine Corp officer. He will do anything to get his team through the obstacle course and over the hill: drag, push, carry them -- whatever it takes. They also know that no one can outwork him. He never asks them to do anything that he isn't already doing."
What Should You Do?
Studies have shown that warm managers consistently outperform more detached leaders. That doesn't mean that you should forget appropriate boundaries and become over-involved in your employees' personal lives. What it does mean is that you need to make sure that they know you are there for them in terms of performance. Let them know that you care about their success and will do whatever you can to help them succeed.
A good way to make sure they know this is to ask the following questions in periodic (at least once a month, once a week if possible) 1-on-1s:
1. Is there anything that I'm doing or that anyone else here is doing that is interfering with your success?
2. Is there anything more that I could do or that anyone else here could do to help you be more successful?
The first time that you ask these questions you may not get any answers, but if you keep asking, you will learn some surprising things about what motivates your employees and more importantly, let them know that you have their back.
Did You Know
All of our management and leadership classes help you learn what motivates employees and what leads to successful performance.
Read Lynne's book "We Need to Talk" - Tough Conversations with Your Employee
and learn to tackle any topic with sensitivity and smarts.