Knowing your team well, can aid any leader in terms of engagement. Research shows the foundation of employee engagement starts with knowing what is expected of you when you come to work, followed by having the tools and resources and moves up the scale to include someone caring about them as an individual and feeling valued. While the initial building blocks of engagement regarding tools and resources are tangible; how do you communicate the expectations of one’s role, and where do they find the tools and resources? Humans have varying degrees of understanding communication and different learning styles. Knowing which type of communication is the most effective for your associates helps support your method(s) of sharing important information.
One key method to show your associates that you care about them as an individual, is to ask them about personal milestones involving family. For example, a graduating senior or the birth of a grandchild. These acknowledgments show care and concern. One of the most challenging aspects to employee engagement is recognition and feeling valued. Realizing individuals prefer to be recognized in different ways, can lead to higher engagement.
A tool that I have used in the past, when assuming a new team is a “Getting to Know YOU” form. It asks simple questions about the person, their family, favorite foods, sports teams and so on. It also touches on how they most like to be recognized, and their preferred method of communication. I’ve always found this a fun exercise, and it is certainly optional. I share my information with the team as well. This makes for interesting conversations and friendly rivalries for different sporting events.
This form can be modified to fit the type of team you are leading. It is also a useful tool to augment the typical strength-finding analytics often used when you have other leaders in your reporting structure.
If not for this tool, I would have never learned there was a dessert called the “monster cookie.” For this, I will be forever grateful! I hope you enjoy learning as much about your team members as I have enjoyed learning about mine.
Sandy Michalski, MBA, CRA, RT(R), Regional Director of Medical Imaging at Mercy Health.
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