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Understand your employees, create a happy workforce, and save money!

November 6, 2017

Optimizing relationships is the new frontier in workforce management. Leaders who invest in improving team collaboration and employee satisfaction will benefit from increased productivity and lower turnover, all of which is reflected in the bottom line.

I asked Karen Gordon, CEO of 5 Dynamics, a neuroscientific team management tool, what keeps employees happy, motivated, and less likely to leave? She describes it as a four-part process.

1. What makes a great leader? Or a not so great one? Not everyone leads the same way.

Understand Your EmployeeMost managers fail to recognize is that leadership is not one-size-fits-all. Most leaders have perfected the art of optimizing processes, but have not invested enough time or resources in optimizing relationships. Great leaders understand that people are their company’s “Square One”, and make it a priority to understand what makes people build high-functioning, happy teams based on mutual knowledge and respect.

2. How can managers learn about their employees’ strengths? How can managers help employees discover those in themselves?

“Throughout my career I’ve learned what inspires one person may not inspire another, says Gordon. “I think the best thing managers can do is spend time purposefully thinking about how their team operates and encourage team members to consider those questions for each other, as well.” How can you motivate others if you do not know what inspires them? What work do they truly enjoy doing? What is the best way to orient them to a new project or team? One way to find those answers is to leverage tools that assess a person’s natural tendencies when working on tasks or collaborating with others.

 3. On that note, what is your advice on team communication? Does it vary between team members, or should there be one method for everyone?

A blanket approach is never the best tactic for engaging your workforce. Communicating with team members strictly based on the way you personally like to communicate could result in stress, conflict, and unproductivity in the workplace. Managers and team members alike need to take the time to understand the communication preferences of their team members and connect with them in their preferred style.

4. How does all of this affect an employee’s level of satisfaction? Where does it tie into a company’s bottom line?

It boils down to this: If a team member feels valued and is able to contribute from his/her unique strengths, they will be more successful, engaged, and satisfied. Managers need to make a genuine effort to seek out the gifts each person brings, value them for their unique strengths, and make their team aware of these discoveries. Once managers realize these keys to success and satisfaction, they will able to more effectively lead their workforce as a productive team, and avoid the costs associated with internal conflict, burnout, and turnover.

 

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Thunderbird School of Global Management Alumna Dana Manciagli '84 is the author of "Cut the crap, Get a job". With her 'Career Mojo' column, Dana is the sole syndicated career columnist for the Business Journal nationwide. Her remarkable profile includes a career in global sales and marketing for Fortune 500 corporations like Microsoft, IBM, and Kodak. She has coached, interviewed and hired thousands of job seekers. This article was originally published on her website.