Do you know the single most important factor driving engagement, growth, and profitability in your organization? Relationships.

Recently, I sat down with Larry Sternberg, former President of Talent Plus and co-author of Managing to Make a Difference to learn more about the power of a positive relationship. Larry and I discussed the following ways this can make a difference in your company:

  1. Accept employees as they are. Organizations waste more time and money trying to change people than they should. Instead, try focusing on each individual’s strengths. If they aren’t the right fit for a job, don’t hire or move them into that position. Instead hire or transition them into one that better suits their talents. When you hone in on what’s right, rather than what’s wrong, you improve employee engagement and company morale.
  2. Skip the scheduled reviews. Many managers make the mistake of only checking in with their employees when they’re obligated to. However, your job is to help your direct reports succeed. Frequent and candid feedback will allow employees to improve their performance on a daily basis and promote a more positive employer-employee relationship.
  3. Be your own recruiter. Every person in an organization is responsible for profitability. So why should you leave finding the best hire to one department? The best managers are always recruiting, be it at a networking event or a backyard BBQ. Also consider relying on your top performers as a referral source. Regardless of where you look, if you want smart hires, be a part of the process.
  4. Practice thoughtful orientation. We all know first impressions are important, and sharing your organization’s value system with a new employee is no exception. Make sure to clearly communicate a new hire’s responsibilities and your expectations of them from the start. In addition, find and utilize your best trainers to assist in the process, recognizing that they may not be your top performers. The ability to teach is a talent all its own, and your department will excel if the right people are given the task.
  5. Know how to let go. Sometimes an employee just isn’t the right fit for their current position. If you’ve clearly communicated changes they need to make in a constructive manner, and they’re still underperforming, it may be time for them to move on. In either case, it’s most important to treat them with dignity and honor their feelings. If appropriate, assist them in finding a new position either within your company or somewhere else. It’s a small world, and cultivating positive relationships with your employees – both past and current – will go a long way.

The right leadership can make a huge difference in employee satisfaction, retention, and the overall success of your organization. Practice the tips above and enjoy the power of a positive relationship.

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