Leadership: Isn’t it About Time?

You’ve never met half the people working in the cubicles you manage at work. You spot sluggish, lonely people swirling around in their chairs and falling asleep on their keyboards. You have no idea why Jim just quit, or why Celia just called in sick for the third Thursday in a row. What gives?

In a nutshell: your office is boring and disconnected. No one looks forward to coming to work, and they can’t wait to get home to the TV. Before you instigate weekly motivational blah-blah emails setting office goals and telling your employees how much you value them (zzzzz), think about how you can really get everyone connected and excited about working for your company.

Connect Musically

Encourage sharing Internet radio stations among coworkers. Allowing a little extra personal creativity at work – without getting “too personal” is a great way to help employees feel a little more at home in the office. Giving employees a little freedom and a way of connecting with each other while working is sure to cheer everyone up – and make them stop grumbling behind your back about the music blaring from your office.

Do Lunch

Traditions give people something to look forward to – and every employee needs something to get them through the week. Getting together for the occasional meeting – whether work-related or not – gives workers a much-needed break – and maybe a reason to not take a day off. Getting together as an office – whether for monthly cupcakes, film clips relevant to office goals, or to praise the office for exceptional stats – can boost employees’ desires to stick around and work harder.

Don’t Forget Face Time

Meet with your employees individually on a regular basis – perhaps monthly. Check in on their work life, and perhaps even casually into their personal life. This will help build trust and keep the door open for when someone has a concern. Encourage managers to meet with individuals they work over to save yourself some time, but make sure everyone is staying connected somehow. If it’s all you can manage, take a couple hours each week just to pop your head in everyone’s work space to say hi. They’ll appreciate it.

Encourage Personal Expression

When appropriate, encourage a relaxed dress code (occasionally or as often as possible) and personalized office decorations. If Bob wants a cheetah-print recliner in his office for you to sit in when you stop by to crunch numbers, why not? Letting everyone make themselves at home will encourage them to stay and be exceptional in their job performance.

As you create office traditions and connect with your employees (without forwarding awkward pass-along emails), your employees will feel more valued and part of the company family. They’ll look forward to coming to work and they’ll work to please management; they’ll stop grumbling about their “old fart of a boss.” And they’ll stick around for a long time.

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