5 Benefits to Having Frequent Conversations with Your Employees

Its early on Monday morning and you just arrived at work. You spent your entire commute once again thinking about — and dreading — all the various conversations you have to have this month with your direct reports, and its really starting to weigh you down.

Some are retiring soon but already appear to have checked out, and others are simply not meeting expectations and you need to address where they’re missing the mark. To top it off, a couple of your top performers have recently expressed interest in other job opportunities and you absolutely can not afford to let them leave! The subject of conversation for each of these employees is clearly going to vary, but they are all equally critical, sensitive in nature, and have to happen soon.

So the question is just how are you, #TheEverydayLeader, supposed to prepare for, initiate, and then successfully execute all of these conversations, while still managing the other regular day-to-day stuff on your plate? We know… its a lot.

But it’s not impossible!

There really are just a couple of things you can practice in order to make having these discussions a lot easier. And it just so happens that we (per usual!) are eager to help and willing to share!

Drumroll please…

Here are two super simple habits to help get over the hump and have these critically helpful conversations with your employees:

  1. Don’t view them as being difficult! This might sound easier said than done, but it’s true, so we have to lead with it. It’s important to view any opportunity to connect with your employees as just that — an opportunity. Its a chance to get to know one another better, to build rapport, and to build on your relationship. The closer you get to being with your employees, the less difficult it will feel to talk to them, even about topics you may previously have viewed as being somewhat controversial.
  2. Have them often. The more connected you are with your employees, the less chance there is for the two of you to fall out of sync with one another…or…experience awkwardness in the conversation in general.  In other words, if you support an atmosphere for clearly setting expectations, being candid with one another, and communicating frequently, you can avoid having to prepare for formal, prescheduled conversations to address lingering issues. Instead, proactive conversations will be normal, addressing issues as they emerge, and nipping things in the bud.

And that’s it!

Try to put in some solid effort in staying consistent, day in and day out, on building these habits. We know change doesn’t happen overnight, but trust us, once you’ve practiced them enough, these habits will integrate firmly into your leadership approach and become second nature. And — the benefits will be far-reaching, and well worth it!

Need some more convincing? Want to know exactly what those benefits are? We thought you’d never ask 😉

Here’s a list of five reasons to stay in control and on top of having frequent conversations with your employees:

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#1 It alleviates uncertainty

Less feed for the negative mind chatter means more time spent at work, both physically and emotionally. When employees feel mentally drained from all the anxiety and worry of not knowing what’s going on, they simply can’t show up to work feeling 100% on board and focused. Supporting a culture of openness and transparency gives employees the peace of mind they need to feel happy, and we all know that happy employees are productive employees.

#2 It’s motivating

Your employees not only need your feedback, they like receiving it. That goes for positive feedback and recognition, as well as constructive feedback on opportunities for improvement. Aslong as you remember to do both, your employees will continue to feel valued, and genuinely look forward to hearing from you and working with you on the areas that could use development.

#3 It enhances the value of your talent

As you support the development of your employees and they stay receptive to your feedback, they’ll continue to build on their knowledge, skills, abilities. This will inspire your employees to stay committed to growing with the organization, positively impact retention, and over time, also build an image that attracts top talent from outside as well.

#4 It shows you care

As a leader, it can be difficult to strike a balance between maintaining friendships with your direct reports while still earning their respect, and trust. But if you can stay consistent on your messaging — offering critique when necessary and recognition when merited — you can absolutely achieve this.

#5 It builds relationships

The benefit of building closer bonds with your team has cascading consequences. The closer you become with your team, the better you’ll understand their needs and yours. It promotes cooperation, everyone feels valued, and team dynamics improve. As team dynamics improve, ideas are more constructively challenged, and creativity is boosted. This has a positive impact on overall satisfaction, performance, and… the list goes on.

The types of conversations you’ll need to have and manage with your employees may vary depending on where they are in their careers, but the fluidity and ease of having them really only depend on your attitude and approach as a leader!

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