Let’s face it, once you became a manager or senior leader, you likely noticed your co-workers started looking at you differently. In their eyes, instead of being, for lack of a better term, “one of us”, you’re now “one of them.” They now know at the end of the day, the company comes first, not them. Some trust was lost through no fault of your own. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you type the words “boss” and “sabotage” into the Google search engine, a whopping 10 million results pop up. It’s no wonder that “one in five employees feel that trust is the most important component of an employee-boss relationship” according to a study at Pepperdine University.
Whether this negative perception from your team is true or not, as a leader, they’re evaluating your every move. Something is bound to be taken out of context or misperceived. Fortunately, there’s ways you can mitigate or prevent it.
Quickly overcome these perceptions within your organization.
For starters, share how much you value personal development and career growth. Provide unsolicited resources during staff meetings. Emphasize your desire to help them succeed; even if they chose to go to another company. Transparency is key to gaining trust with your team.
An employee engagement and organizational culture report from TINYpulse, a data analytics company, surveyed of over 200,000 employees at over 500 companies. Results said that 66% of employees do not see a chance for growth in their current organization.
In 2017, Indeed conducted a survey and found that 41% of people switched companies to advance their career. These attrition rates, according to estimates from The Bureau of National Affairs, costs U.S. businesses $11 billion annually.
The employee who’s looking for a promotion.
Another thing to think about is the topic of advancement. For example, one or more of your direct reports are looking to get promoted. They want to become an engineering manager or senior engineer.
The best thing to do in this situation is talk to that engineer and learn what their career ambitions are.
Over time, ask a series of questions to figure out why they want to become a manager or senior leader to understand their motivations and desire for a promotion.
Here’s a list of 8 questions to help have effective conversations:
- What do you hope to achieve if you’re an engineering manager or senior engineer?
- Why is this the best time for you to become a manager or senior engineer?
- Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult coworker to accomplish your work, what happened?
- What did you do when someone criticized your decision or direction on a project?
- What was the last book you read and what was it about? What did you learn from that?
- How often do you read or listen to podcasts to help you achieve your professional goals?
- As a leader, what approach would you take to tell someone they were underperforming?
- In your opinion, when is the best time to give (negative or positive) feedback?
Asking these questions will help you figure out where their passion lies. Share your observations and coach in areas where there’s an opportunity to develop.
Other ways to be helpful.
Provide your team resources such as:
- Provide growth opportunities in your department
- Internal links to resources
- Links to Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs)
- Suggest organizations (such as Toastmasters, etc.)
- Point them towards courses and seminars (such as Dale Carnegie, etc.)
- Encourage them to get several mentors
- Offer to make introductions to others inside of the organization
Following these methods will show your employees that you care, and in turn will build their trust in you.
Outside of this list, what else can you do to help your team achieve their career goals?
What do you wish someone would have told you before becoming a technical manager or leader?