The 3 critical things to remember when talking to your staff

Your staff are probably well qualified to do their work, after all they would have been selected for the role at some point in time. And in those early days they would have come to work eager to please and motivated to do their best.

So what happened?

If we think of the overall aim of anyone who has responsibility for staff as ‘encouraging staff to continue to deliver their best each day’, then many managers are falling short. Make sure you’re not one of them by applying the three simple principles below.

Yes, I know that work gets busy and sometimes it’s difficult to do the ‘people’ stuff but this is missing the point. If you as a manager are not prioritising the ‘people stuff’ over the day-to-day work, you really are missing a trick. If you get seriously good at the skills of managing people, and just for now, we can focus on just the three areas below, then your staff will be looking for ways to do more for you.

1.   Tell them where they’re goingTo Do List

It’s important to share with each member of your team where you’re heading. This vision doesn’t have to be in deep detail but it must be thought-through enough so you can talk confidently about it. Like any vision it’s a picture of the future, make sure you can describe it in ways that your staff will both understand and engage with. And as they begin to understand where the team is going, inevitably they will want to know how they fit in.

2.   Show them you care

People are people (even in the world of work) and we want to know that our closest working colleagues think well of us. As a manager, you have staff in your care, their work and well-being is your responsibility. Take opportunities to tell them when they’ve done good work, how they help you and that you’re proud they are in your team. If you have a large team that you can’t do this with effectively, make sure to find other ways to connect with them. For example, you could simply ask a larger team ‘what 1 thing can I do that will help you work better/more effectively?’ and then do it.

3.   Empower them to do their best work

Managers, especially those who have been newly promoted can find it hard to strike a healthy balance when delegating work to their staff. It’s understandable, it’s a skill that needs developing. But in the meantime micro-managed staff lose motivation and often their trust in you.

Tell your staff you are empowering them to do their work with guidance as they need it. When you do this you are showing them you trust them. (It goes without saying here that you have trained them adequately in the first place).

What happens as a result of this empowerment is a growth in their confidence to carry out that work.


But here’s the rub

You have to be sincere. If you don’t mean what you say, best not say it. If staff feel their manager has a hidden agenda or is being hypocritical, they will stop trusting them and it takes a very long time to re-build lost trust.


Cast your vote

If you had to say which area (1, 2 or 3 above) managers struggled with the most, what would you say? Share your thoughts in the comments box below I’d love to get your perspective on this.


2 thoughts on “The 3 critical things to remember when talking to your staff

  • No1 for me is almost always missing. Where are we going, why, how? Plus gaining your teams input. You don’t need to identify this on your own. Two heads (or 4, 5 or 6) are better than one! They may have identified opportunities that you haven’t.

    • And if they don’t know where they’re going…
      Gaining input from the team is so often overlooked Robert, I agree. Yet it’s one of the easiest ways to rally the team and get them engaged in the future vision. Why do you think managers miss this initial step?

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