Helping Your Team Members Feel More Valued

People who do not feel valued at work look for a job change. This is not a new finding. All of us have experienced this during some part of our career. As human beings, all of us crave appreciation.

Every individual in the team is valuable towards the success of the team. But to a great extent, it is the manager's and the team leader's responsibility to ensure that their team members feel valued.

We frequently hear stories about people moving on in their jobs because their work was not valued or they have not been recognized for their efforts. Most times, the manager wakes up to his mistake by praising the person and applauding him for his contribution after the person has resigned and is at his farewell party. Isn’t that ridiculous? It is too late to applaud a person on his last day of employment with the company, even if you are doing it out of courtesy. Your authenticity as a manager will always be questioned.

Beyond Transactional Relationships

Engaging with your team members is not just having a transactional relationship. You cannot just have a once-in-a-quarter offsite team lunch/ dinner, or a festival celebration in office, and claim you have a great culture and all your team members are engaged. It takes more than these feel-good events to build an engaged team of individuals.

How often do you mingle and talk to individuals on the production floor? Are you accessible to your people at all times, or are you disconnected from what’s happening on the floor?

Inclusive Behavior

A team leader once complained that he spent so much time delegating work to his team members, but the team was not motivated to do the job. All this manager did was delegate work and then look over their shoulders to see if they were doing the right thing.

But he refused to listen to the individuals, and was not bothered if the work divided to them was as per their skills. He showed no empathy in talking to them and connecting with them to see if they need help. Throwing the work across the wall is delegation with no thought and meaning. It is more of allocating the task to people and expecting them to complete on time. This is not inclusive behavior.

A Disengaged Team Reflects the Leader's Mindset

If your team or all individuals in the team are disengaged and overall there is low productivity, then it reflects the behavior and mindset at the top.

If you as a manager or a team leader are expecting individuals in your team to perform, then getting them to bring their whole self to work is very important. That can only happen if you are connected with each person, and understand what motivates them. It is helpful to include them in planning work, and respect their views. Leaders should help team members navigate their fears and work problems.

Gallup’s "Full State of the Global Workplace" report shows that the percentage of adults who work full-time for an employer, are engaged at work,  and are highly involved and enthusiastic about their work and workplace is just about 15%. Though engagement levels vary by country and region, in no country does the proportion of the employed residents who are engaged in their jobs exceed about four in ten.

Important Tips to Have Engaged Individuals in Your Team

  • Give them your uninterrupted time. No mobiles, no laptop, no multitasking. Just focus and listen to what your team member is saying. Let them know “they are important to you.” This can only happen by spending time with them and listening.
  • Be authentic -- honesty is the foundation for building relationships. This is true both at work and in personal life.
  • Create an inclusive culture. Discuss project details with all your reports. Take their opinions on how the project can be executed. Trust and value their thoughts and ideas. Your project is bound to succeed.
  • Be generous in showing your genuine appreciation and gratitude.

"As a leader, you have to be authentic and constantly connecting with employees" -- Jeff Immelt