Manager / Team Leader 

Welcome to the Engage For Success website! We’ve got lots of things for you to read and think about that will help you do your job as a manager well and keep or turn your team into a high performing one.

Did you know you are the key reason why your people enjoy or dislike work, why they will stay or leave, why they trust that the organisation is for them, not against them.

You are really important to your organisation and to your immediate team. So come and find out more about being an engaging manager. It is one of our four enablers of engagement.

Engaging managers:

  • make everyone feel part of the team
  • set clear objectives and show us how our work contributes to the organisation’s objectives
  • give regular, thoughtful, honest and constructive feedback on performance
  • coach us and stretch us
  • discuss our professional and career development with us at regular points during the year
  • support us to achieve our goals
  • thank us for our work
  • recognise, celebrate and reward our achievements
  • are approachable and available when needed
  • take time to get to know us
  • are discreet and can be trusted
  • look out for our work/life balance.

Is this how you manage employees already? Is this how you would like to be managed yourself? So often in organisations, we copy the style of our own manager, often unconsciously and unintentionally. If we don’t find our manager engaging, we need to work especially consciously on ensuring we are, and we might need to invite 360’ feedback from the people we manage, and our peers to check out how we are doing?

Growing your team

It can be hard getting to know a new team, or building a team from scratch. But it’s worth taking time to find out about the individuals who make up your team. What motivates them? Whom do they trust to tell them the truth about what’s happening in the organisation?

One way of getting to know the individual members in your team and developing them at the same time is to have regular team discussions about specific topics. It’s a way of finding out what they value, what they have in common, where they need to develop, and helping them grow as a team that supports one another and learns together.

You might want to choose from these topics for an occasional discussion at a team meeting:

  • What are team members’ experience of the organisation? How emotionally connected do they feel to the organisation? Do they understand its purpose and objectives? How strongly do they believe in what it does?
  • What does the team value in a leader? How do their senior leaders’ measure up? What would they do?
  • Does the team have the tools for the job? Do they feel equipped and empowered to get the job done. What would help – smarter working; problem solving; work life balance; skills for the job; technology; trust? What choices would they like to have? Are they involved enough about decisions about their work?
  • What is their experience of a supportive team? Strong teams are more than the sum of their part and create the context within which people can flourish and deliver.
  • What do learning and development do they want? Can they help each other through team learning?
  • Do they have meaningful work? What would help? Smart working; better job design; changes in the team roles; greater clarity in roles and objectives; better relationships and collaboration with other teams; feeling valued
  • What is their experience of engaging management? You might want an outside facilitator for this one, so your team feels comfortable to talk.
  • What is their experience of being treated fairly? Inclusion and fair treatment are integral to creating an engaged workforce. How does the team and organisation value diversity, give equality of opportunity, promote openness and honesty

It’s always worth thinking about team dynamics, and the fact that every time someone new joins the team, Bruce Tuckman’s model of forming, storming, norming and performing starts again. The team needs to recognise it is new, and agree its values and behaviours. You mustn’t rely on a new member just picking these up, information you want them to know, and how you like things to run, imply by osmosis. You need to be pro-active in giving the new team member a great induction to the team, where they fit into the organisation, and their work.

Disengaging your team!

You may have been fortunate to have only ever worked for inspiring managers. Not everyone has, and it’s worth thinking about what really annoyed and disengaged you, and checking you aren’t doing that too, for example:

  • making promises, but never keeping them – that weekly 1:1 chat; mentioning that great piece of work you did to the boss’s boss
  • keeping all the interesting work themselves and not giving you meaningful, interesting and stretching work, so you are developing
  • failing to give you regular specific and constructive feedback on your work
  • not running meetings to time, or with an agenda, or a clear set of action points at the end, so everyone knows what has been decided and who is doing what
  • not including everyone in the team, and valuing only people they like, or who are like them
  • looking down on ‘junior grades’ and not valuing their input
  • never listening to your ideas
  • looking out for their work/life balance, but not yours
  • turning a blind eye to bullying and harassment rather than making it clear it is not tolerated and tackling it if it arises

The case studies and hints and tips on this website can tell about some of the things managers in other organisations have done. You will need to work out what best suits your own team.   As a starter for ten, why not check out these case studies:

If you want to:

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  1. What is their experience of engaging management? You might want an outside facilitator for this one, so your team feels comfortable to talk.

    Any considerations on how to engage an outside facilitator? Does the whole team take part in identifying one?

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