Proactive Relationship Management

Are your team members truly following you?

One of the best habits a leader can develop is consistently checking in with his or her team. It doesn’t have to be formal, but it does help to schedule it on your calendar as a reminder.

Being bold enough to ask open-ended questions helps ensure that you are meeting the needs of the people who keep your organization moving forward.

You might find out through these types of conversations that some people are not committed to following your lead; or, explains Career Coach Julie Bauke, you might discover that because of your candidness, your team “will walk through fire for you. And that’s what we all hope for.”
One of the best habits a leader can develop is some sort of schedule to check-in with people. So that when you say to someone, “Hey, can you stop by the office?” they don't start freaking out thinking they're about to be let go. One of the great ways to do that is to set it up in your calendar to have just sort of a check-in with people. “How's everything going on the job? Do you like what you're doing? Is there anything you think we could do differently? Is there anything that I'm doing that's keeping you from doing your best on the job? Anything you want me to stop or start doing? What do you think your next step might be?”

And maybe even plan out a series of questions. It doesn't have to b, any sort of deep, in depth, hours and hours long, heart-to-heart, it can simply be, “How's it going?” But when they say, “Fine,” you don't accept that as an answer. You want to say, “Are you getting what you need out of me, out of this organization so you can do your job the best way possible?”

And then, what's next? So understanding that you have to schedule those calls, sometimes we go forward and we think, “Well, no news is good news.” We get past a Monday or a Friday, and nobody's quit and everybody's showing up, and our goals are being met. As a leader, we can get so heads-down, watching the numbers and the goals that we forget about the people, who are actually achieving those numbers and those goals. And that the best way to achieve that to ensure that you're getting what you need, in order to keep your department moving forward, is to check in with the people who are behind it.

Pull back the curtain, and have the conversation with people. These are hard conversations, because sometimes we think, “Oh gosh, if I ask them, ‘Are you happy in your job?’ they might say no. Then I'm going to have to do something about it.” Well, guess what? Eventually, you're going to have to do something about it. Wouldn't you rather figure it out now, rather than wait six months and have them walk out? Or have them start cause trouble with other people?

So, as a leader, the leading part actually involves turning around and looking back sometimes and talking to the people who are supposedly following you. You might find out that they're not following you, or you might find out that because you've created the type of conversations with these people, they'll walk through fire for you. And that’s what we all hope for.

Julie Bauke

Julie Bauke is The Chief Career Happiness Officer of The Bauke Group. She is as serious about your Career Happiness as she is her own — and she is deadly serious about hers.

She started The Bauke Group after a lifetime of bel...

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