Understanding Others is crucial at every level of the organization, particularly for leaders and managers seeking to enhance their own and their teams’ performance. When being used optimally (what we refer to as “In the Zone”), behaviours associated with this strength include taking the time to listen to colleagues to understand things from their point of view, giving emotional space to understand how your people are feeling and stepping in to help others when they are upset, overwhelmed or emotionally low.
However, when used too much or in the wrong way (what we refer to as “Overuse or In-excess”) excess, Understanding Others may result in some of the following behaviours:
However, there are a variety of techniques that highly empathetic leaders and employees can apply to avoid these risks, such as:
Separating emotions and personal life from work
This is not to say that leaders should embody indifference at work. Instead, they should take care to boundary their personal time and mental energy so that they do not get overinvolved in others’ problems. If they don’t do this, their tendency to identify too much with others’ emotions and provide support to others when they are in distress or experiencing challenges at work or in their personal life may end up being detrimental to their own work, mental health and personal happiness. In extreme cases, it can also result in an unhealthy relationship of dependency that can prevent people from becoming more self-sufficient, confident, and resilient.
Set clear guidelines and expectations – and enforce them
As mentioned earlier, some may take advantage of the leader’s/person’s warm and compassionate nature and inclination to help. This may result in them find opportunities to offload unwanted work inappropriately or abusing the leader’s warm-hearted and understanding nature. To avoid this, leaders should clearly communicate role responsibilities and ensure people are held accountable to what has been agreed and subsequently delegated. If it is apparent that a team member is struggling with their workload, the leader should show empathy and understanding in helping the person to improve, particularly where these challenges are caused by genuine personal challenges outside work (e.g., major illness in the family). However, while reasonable allowances can be made, the leader needs to remain firm about what needs to be delivered and offer only reasonable assistance to address any shortfalls.
Don’t constantly try to rescue others
Whilst compassionate and understand leaders typically have good intentions by stepping in to try and help others, they often end up doing more harm than good. Check in with your direct reports and colleagues whether they need help before stepping in to rescue them. If they do need help, provide advice and guidance of where to find the best support (e.g., through the HR function, GP practice, professional counselling services) rather than always trying to provide this yourself.
Understanding others is essential for leaders and managers to enhance performance and build strong, positive relationships at work. However, it should be balanced to avoid emotional exhaustion, dependency, and interference. By setting boundaries, establishing clear expectations, and providing support when truly needed, empathetic leaders can create a thriving work environment that fosters self-sufficiency, self-confidence, and success.
To find out how we can help your organization avoid using overused talents to help your employees to thrive in their career, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A manager has many responsibilities, one of which is keeping their team engaged and motivated at work. Unfortunately, the economic slowdown and threat of a recession make this harder on managers, while also negatively impacting employee morale, leading to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates. This has been amplified by The Great Resignation, where employees are willingly leaving their jobs to pursue other opportunities because in the past few years, the demand for talent has grown and now exceeds supply in many occupational areas like software development, B2B sales and leadership. Current data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) predicts that one in five of UK workers will seek other employment options this year. More recent research from Unum UK, an employee benefits provider, found that 19% of workers plan to look for a new position in 2023.
However, the outlook for employers is not all bleak as recent trends show the rise of Boomerang Employees. The World Economic Forum defines this phenomenon as “staff who leave their jobs but choose to return at a later point when the stress passes or priorities shift”. Data shows that 1 in 5 people who have quit their jobs during the pandemic have gone back to the job that they have left. This suggests that employees are realizing that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and the demotivating factor/s that caused them to leave in the first place are being tackled more swiftly by employers who are keen to war for the best talent. For example, many companies that previously had no flexible work policies are implementing these to remain competitive in an increasingly ‘hot’ talent market.
There are a number of steps managers can take to keep employee engagement and morale up during times of uncertainty, and create a culture that employees will not want to leave, but also are more inclined to return to if they do resign:
Implementing simple, actionable ways to keep employees engaged during the economic slowdown will not only improve performance, motivation and retention, but former employees may even boomerang back onto your team.
As a leader in strengths-based assessment, development and coaching, TalentPredix can help you boost employee engagement, performance and retention. Contact us to learn more.
Disengaged employees can be detrimental to productivity, employee engagement and overall output. Our previous blog covered signs managers should look out for in employees to help nip this problem in the bud.
Spot and prevent low motivation and engagement
Of course, the best way to ward off quiet quitting is for managers to check in on the motivation of their people on a regular basis. There are different ways of doing this, including careful observation of behaviour, emotions and energy shifts, engagement surveys and asking questions that uncover people’s motivation during regular check-ins and quarterly performance review meetings. Some of the questions managers can consider asking are as follows:
Once managers identify a disengaged employees they can explore the root cause of their low engagement in a one-on-one conversation.
Amplify strengths, successes and progress
Managers, like most of us, are conditioned to focus more on the negatives we see rather than the positives. This is what psychologists call the “negativity bias”. It is therefore important for managers to consciously learn to spot and magnify strengths, successes and progress, even small wins and shifts in effort.
By giving positive feedback and praise, managers will promote progress, excellence, and employee engagement. When people feel they are valued and their progress and achievements are recognized regularly by their manager, they are more likely to feel motivated and exert higher levels of discretionary effort (i.e., effort over and above the required level).
Conduct retention/stay interviews
Retention interviews are a powerful tool to improve employee experience, build trust, and nip problems in the bud. RotaCloud recommends that retention interviews should be kept relatively informal, held in private, and be consistent as much as possible across different team members. Keeping consistency might be difficult, as everyone has their own sentiments and feelings, but managers can keep a set of key questions or discussion points handy and let the conversation flow from there. This can be done in both in-person and remote or hybrid workplaces. Responses should be collated and kept on record somewhere in order to refer to eventually.
It is important that managers self-reflect and be empathetic above all else. Try to picture themselves in the position of their employees and see their realities to understand where they are coming from. Reflect on how they would react if they were put in their employees’ position? Additionally, consider the employees themselves and the value they have brought to the team, and their strengths and their talents and how these can be further supported to allow them to thrive.
Act on employee feedback
Taking this into consideration, it is now time for the manager to act on the feedback given from their employees. It may be revealed that employees are frustrated with a lack of progression and/or development opportunities available to them, then the manager should explore options in upskilling and/or career development for their people. In virtual teams, managers may find that some employees feel disconnected from the broader workforce. This last one might be common among the younger workforce, who are likely dealing with proportionately more “Zoom fatigue” from the pandemic. If this is the case, the leader should find more creative ways to foster connectivity or, if possible, try to organize in-person events to enable the employees to connect with each other more.
Lastly, it should be ensured that this feedback loop is not a one-off occurrence. A communication line has been opened, and it should be kept this way. The manager should devise a plan to regularly collect feedback, comments, and suggestions from their team, and be flexible enough and willing to find ways to act on suggestions being made. Data can be collected either through formal measures like sending out employee engagement surveys or more informal measures such as sitting down and having a conversation or booking regular one-on-one meetings. Gallup finds that the best practice is for managers to have meaningful 15–30-minute conversations once a week with each employee.
By actively listening to the needs and wants of their people, managers foster a work environment that is inclusive and supportive, which can help their team members feel valued, motivate them to perform at their best and thus address the issue of employee disengagement.
TalentPredix has the strengths-based tools, resources, and skills to engage employees to help you build a thriving place to work so your people can reach their full potential. Contact us today to learn more.
The term ‘quiet quitting’ has made the rounds online, from starting conversations and debate on all corners of the internet, to even being named one of Collins Dictionary’s Word of the Year. Collins has defined it as “the practice of doing no more work than one is contractually obligated to do.”
RotaCloud, a staff management software company, has now identified a new workplace trend to succeed quiet quitting called “resenteeism.” They define it as staying in a job, despite being fundamentally unhappy and actively resenting it. Concerns over job security, cost of living, or a lack of alternative employment options are cited as reasons that employees stay. The main difference that resenteeism has from its predecessor is that the employee is more vocal about their dissatisfaction and may potentially influence the opinions and attitudes of others.
However, a common denominator between the two is that it all boils down to employee engagement, or a lack thereof. Indeed’s Work Happiness Score revealed that more than one third of U.K. employees are unhappy in their current job roles. Employee engagement is nothing new in the HR industry, but recent events like the pandemic and cost of living crisis have brought it front and center. But the question remains – what can managers do to engage their employees and prevent dissatisfaction?
Primarily, managers need to be engaged and present at work, so they can identify which employees are putting in less effort than before and seem disengaged from the wider workforce. In a hybrid or remote settings, being present could mean reaching out more to employees to be more visible and keep communication lines open. Being engaged as a remote manager could also mean giving your employees the autonomy and flexibility to do the work on their own time but ensuring that performance standards and deadlines are clearly communicated.
Some signs managers should look out for in employees:
In our next article, we will explore how managers can reengage a disengaged employee to achieve better outputs and productivity.
TalentPredix has the tools, resources, and skills to engage employees to help you build a thriving place to work so your people can reach their full potential. Contact us today to learn more.