- What are they working on?
- Are they learning?
- How are they developing themselves, personally and also professionaly?
- Do they "LOVE" their job? it is not Do they "LIKE" the word is "LOVE"
If a manager, meets regularly with the team members and asks;
- Tell me what you have learned today, this week?
- Tell me how you have improved personally and professionally?
- Tell me what was challenging for you and how did you handle it?
- Tell me something you did and you are really proud of?
- Tell me how the things you have done helps you for your future career and personal goals?
The answers will give you clues. If the person hasn't learned anything, hasn't acquired any skill personally and prefessionally. And if the person cannot even come up with some successes and accomplishments, you can be sure that the person is not happy at his/her job and don't be suprsised if they leave.
Management is the art of understanding and reading clues. You must pay attention to words, signs, body language, reactions everything. These will give you clues to initiate the conversation which again must include the right questions...There is a difference between asking "Are you OK?" versus "I see you quiet, tell me how you feel? ", the former could be answered as simply as "Yes OK" but the latter is an open ended one. If you have created a comfortable environment with your team member, they will share their frustrations and challenges knowing that you will be supporting them. However if you are ignorant to these signs and havent created such an environment, please be prepared to have suprises..So overall, if you FAIL to ASK right questions, you are simply ASKing to FAIL your relationship with your team member.
It sounds so easy to do, but then why do we keep hearing the same suprises over and over again from the managers. It is again easy to answer, with the pace of the business, isssues and challenges, we ignore these clues, we stop listening and as a result we dont ask the right questions. This creates a perfect platform for an unhappy employee. Some employees take the initiative to openly discuss the problem, however most are hesitant and dont simply due to lack of open relationship with their managers, again the environment to share just doesnt exist.
What should you do to avoid such surprises?
You must be disciplined to;
- Schedule regular one on one status update meetings (minimum once a month)
- LISTEN to spoken and unspoken clues generously (try to see from their point of view, not yours...)
- ASK the RIGHT questions
- LISTEN generously again, do not get defensive, let them express their assessment and feelings, at the end of the day it is their assessment,it could be right or wrong (taken from Dannon Leadership College)
- HELP to resolve the issue and revisit in your next update meeting
- ENSURE, they learn personally and professionaly in-line with their future growth goals
Surprises will always happen but with simple listening and asking skills you can minimize these for your team members...When they happen, the next question will be "Do you have a Plan B?" "Do you have a successor for replacement?"...Lets save this for another time..