As you’ve heard me say before, the manager is the key pivot point when it comes to employee engagement. 70 percent of a team’s culture revolves around the relationship between employees and their manager.
It takes a lot of metabolic effort to be a good manager. It requires intentionality, dedication, thoughtfulness, and a lot of self-care to sustain these efforts for the long-term. Managers working under supportive senior leaders – ones who mentor and lead by example – tend to have more highly engaged teams than managers without support from senior leadership. Support from above or not, the role of any manager is to lead their employees – including their employees’ feelings and emotions – in addition to their own day-to-day tasks. This puts a lot of stress on managers.
Managers must practice self-care to keep showing up engaged, consistent, and predictable for their employees despite this heavy workload because employees perform best under a manager they can count on. So, how do you show up in this manner every day?
Find a mentor. We all need advocates. Whether inside or outside your organization, a mentor can help you cope with your workload, support you, and act as a sounding board when needed. A good mentor is one you can trust and will be honest with you. They can help you grow and maintain a high level of self-awareness, so you can better manage conflict, work with difficult employees, and understand what it takes to be emotionally intelligent.
Maintain boundaries. I know I talk all the time about building strong relationships, but that doesn’t mean you need to be available to your team 24/7. Think quality over quantity when it comes to employee interactions. Be very intentional in your one-on-ones. Spend time getting to know what’s important to your team members. Then, step back and take time for yourself. Use your slow days, holidays, and vacation days wisely. If you work at a breakneck pace for the long-term, you won’t have anything left to give your employees or yourself and family.
Delegate more. Maybe you can offload some of these tasks to your engaged and actively engaged players who are looking for more challenge or responsibility at work. Use your team, but do so wisely. Don’t just dump projects on people. No one appreciates it when things are done to them, but most team members will feel valued and supported when you work alongside them to give them the opportunity for expanded roles and challenges. Your engaged and highly engaged players are eager and want to support you – trust their capabilities and give them an opportunity to shine. Reassigning these tasks will give you mental space and benefit your engaged players hungry for more responsibility. Win-win!
One last note – taking time for reflection and gratitude is one of the simplest, most powerful ways to take care of yourself and your team on a daily basis. Leadership is a marathon, not a sprint. Lead with intention – and self-care – to ensure lifelong leadership success, and to leave a lasting impact on each team member you work with.
- You are the key driver of engagement. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself, so you can take care of your team.
- Find a professional mentor you can confide in.
- Outsource work to your engaged players and see how they do. Let them impress you!