To do their jobs effectively, leaders must prioritize the people on their team. After all, a company’s staff is its greatest asset, and managers should know as much as possible about each person and how they contribute to the overall success of the business.
Getting to know everyone on the team isn’t always easy, though, especially in a larger organization. We asked members of Forbes Human Resources Council to offer some advice for leaders who want to get to know their employees better. Here is their best advice:
1. Play Games
Take an afternoon to break out a deck of cards or some board games. Reserve a conference room or go off-site and play games, socialize and have fun together. Some good work and non-work-related conversations are bound to happen. Remember the fun and interesting things you learn and incorporate them into employee recognition, nicknames, etc. – Catherine Decker, Outsell
2. Manage Like A Mentor
To get to know your employees better, you must manage like a mentor. Mentorship allows you to have a different relationship with your employees. The employee will view you as a thought leader, someone who cares about their career, and they will feel more supported. With your trusted guidance, they will be inspired to share more with you. Mentoring will keep them motivated as you lead with purpose. – Charece Newell, MSILR, sHRBP, Sunspire Health
3. Ask Everyone The Same Question And Listen Carefully To Their Answers
Getting to know employees gets harder the higher up you go. Try getting to know just one thing about your employees. Decide what you want to know and ask the same question of everyone, such as, “What did you want to be when you grew up when you were 10?” or “What do you love to do?” Then listen really hard. – Pamela Potts, neosystemscorp.com
4. Have Lunch With Them
Breaking bread with your crew and listening to what’s on the minds of those doing the bulk of the work is critical to establishing leadership presence. Don’t order a sandwich so you can sit in your office. Go to the cafeteria and ask the loudest, most energetic table if you can join them for lunch. They’re likely the influencers of your organization and would greatly appreciate your presence. – Philip Dana, Bridgepoint Education
5. Hold Town Hall Sessions
Leaders should hold regular town hall sessions where they communicate the vision, goals, strategies and plans of the company to their employees. They should be honest and transparent about the direction of the business and how it would impact the employees negatively or positively. Employees should also be given the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns. – Ochuko Dasimaka, Career Heights Consulting, Inc.
6. Be Authentic And Vulnerable With Them
To build trust and find out what really motivates and drives people, you have to be authentic and take the risk of being vulnerable. Many leaders feel they need to lead two lives: one inside the walls of the office and something different when they walk out the door. If you want to inspire people to do their best work, you have to lead with your real self. Share your passion, experience and story. – Stacie Mallen, CampusLogic
7. Have Staff Members Re-Introduce Themselves At Meetings
At staff meetings, we ask a current staff member to introduce another current staff member, sharing five new things we still don’t know about the person, even after having worked with them. It’s a great way to re-connect staff and remind everyone that there is always something new to learn. – Dynasti Hunt, EducationSuperHighway
8. Attend Company Social Gatherings
With endless responsibilities, company leaders are busy for good reason. However, there’s no substitute for time spent getting to know employees on a personal level. Leaders should make it a priority to attend events such as company celebrations and team-building activities. This demonstrates to employees that the leaders care about their well-being and not only the company’s bottom line. – John Feldmann, Insperity
9. Encourage Two-Way Dialogue In Company Communications
Leaders will get to know their employees if they establish forums that promote two-way dialogue. Often organization’s mistake notification with communication. The most effective form of communication within organizations is providing employees with a forum where they can share their thoughts, opinions and concerns. Town halls, one-on-ones and surveys are great mechanisms to accomplish this. – Ivelices Thomas, GardaWorld U.S. Cash Services
10. Work Alongside Them
The best way to get to know your employees is to push up your sleeves and work side by side. Most employees enjoy sharing what they do and how they do it, but they may not get the opportunity to share very often. Get out of the office and get to know them and the work. Let your employees tell you what they do and let them see that you care. Who knows? You may even learn something new. – Michele Gonzalez-Pitek, Best Friends Credit.