Having employees “on your side” is a wonderful thing.
Devoted employees look out for you and consistently go the extra mile to deliver results, but very few managers have the knack for winning and keeping all employees in their good graces all the time.
Consider the following skills…
1. Be genuine. In other words, be human. Employees dislike working for managers who are in it to bolster their own egos. Don’t ask staffers to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. Being genuine also means leading with empathy and understanding.
2. Make your employees feel important. Some employees get mired in going through motions if they have minimal contact with their immediate boss. Employees at all levels need to be reminded that their contributions, insights, opinions, and creativity are important to the organization’s success.
3. Address employees by their names. Dale Carnegie believed that the most beautiful sound to an employee is his or her name. Addressing people by their name enhances rapport and adds a tone of friendliness to any conversation.
4. Respect employees’ needs for time off. Most companies have been forced to do more with less, forcing some employees to do the work of 1.5 people, or more, without a boost in pay. This naturally leads to burnout. Employees are not machines, and shouldn’t feel guilty when requesting time to reboot.
5. Practice active listening. This is taught in leadership training. Active listening takes place when the listener feeds back what they hear to the sender—by way of restating or paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words—to confirm understanding. There are other methods: One manager closes the lid of his laptop, walks away from his desk, and sits down next to the person he is speaking with. It’s a powerful expression of interest and sincerity.
6. Practice consistency. As managers, most of us have some employees that we like better than others. The challenge for managers is to prevent other employees from picking up on the scent. Any sign of favoritism can quickly erode respect and credibility.
7. Admit mistakes. Again, be human. Courageous, confident leaders admit their mistakes to employees. Redirecting blame or making lame excuses makes the situation much worse and teaches employees that it’s perfectly acceptable to do the same.
It’s E.Q. versus I.Q. leadership. People join companies and leave leaders. Winning employees into your good graces has little to do with technical skills; it has everything to do with people skills.
A version of this post first appeared on GordonTraining. This story is in partnership with Newsweaver.