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MANAGING STAFF

What I really wanted for Christmas

By Lynne Curry bio

“What I really wanted for Christmas,” the woman said, “Wasn’t a turkey or a ham. It’s communication. The management around here keeps us in the dark, but then expects us to carry out their last minute orders without knowing the full story.”

Have you thought about how you could have wished your employees happy holidays this year? Did you throw them an end-of-the-year party, hand out bonus checks or give them well-chosen presents? Or did you give them gifts that last longer—more of what they wanted in their jobs?

Communication

When changes loom, senior management often calls mid-level managers into closed door meetings and gives them information about what’s coming so they’ll know what to expect. The mid-levels then return their desks or stations and get right back to work.

Who tells the lower level employees what’s coming down the pike? Often, no one, so they’re left to share rumors in the hallways or breakroom. If you’re a mid-level, hold a team meeting of your own as soon as you get briefed by senior management and let them know major new and projected development. If you’re a senior manager, how about giving all of your employees a “here’s what the future holds” update—this week?

Gratitude

If you’re like most managers, you appreciate good performance, but don’t say so as often as you could. As a result, your employees may feel taken for granted. Take time today and every day to tell your employees what you genuinely appreciate about how they handle their workload.

Development

Good employees work for more than a monetary paycheck—they also seek a psychic paycheck. If you’d like to give your employees a true gift, invest in them. Do what it takes to ensure that every employee you supervise thrives by giving them opportunities to learn and grow.

Listen

If you believe your employees are your company’s most important assets, say so by asking them for their ideas and concerns. Use no or low-cost communication channels such as open door supervision, employee surveys and management by walking around. Ask your employees: “How would you assess our work environment?” and “What would you like to change in the way things are done in our company?” When your employees talk with you, listen—even and especially when you don’t agree with what they say. If you do survey your employees, take action on what’s said. Your employees have given you a gift; it’s your turn.

Lead

How do you and the other managers in your company lead? Do you set a good example for your employees in the areas that matter—integrity, professionalism, teamwork and respect? You don’t inspire motivation and morale when you leave leadership out of your gift package.

Flexibility

If you’d like your employees to rejoice, add understanding concerning the personal pressures facing those who work for you to their gift piles. Employees often walk a tightrope balancing personal and job responsibilities. If you can, gift your employees as much flexibility as you can in adjusting their vacation schedules and work hours. Help them perform well without having to sacrifice their personal lives.

What will you give your employees this holiday season and New Year? How about a gift that offers long-term returns?

 

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