For all this talk about how to engage employees, often the simplest fact gets overlooked. Most disengaged employees got that way under a bad manager. Everyone has a different management style, but below are six essentials that every good manager shares.
1. They care. They remember your birthday. They ask how your weekend was, and actually listen when you tell them. They know they don’t have to be your friend, but that they should treat you like a person.
2. They recognize your accomplishments. When you do something great, they don’t try to take credit for it or brush it off. They realize that your successes reflect well upon them also, and they make sure you are recognized for them.
3. They communicate. They tell you exactly what is expected of you, and let you know how you are or aren’t meeting those goals frequently—not just during your annual review. They realize that constructive feedback is just as essential to your development as praise.
4. They work hard. They’re probably in before you in the morning, there after you leave, or at home cracking open the laptop after getting the kids to bed. They never leave you feeling like you’re doing all the work and getting half the pay.
5. They protect you. Sometimes things go terribly wrong as the result of an honest mistake or even circumstances totally out of your control. A great manager will step in front of the firing squad for you, knowing he or she will take a lot less heat than you would.
6. They want you to move on. Yes, every manager dreads that day when a valued employee tells them they’re leaving for a better opportunity. But if they truly care (see #1!) they will be happy to see you grow and develop in your career. And a smart businessperson realizes that you might become a future client and/or referrer of talented people like yourself!