Engaging Your Team as a New Manager

So, you got promoted?

Along with an increased list of responsibilities, you are now the leader of your team! It’s tough to strike a balance with your direct reports, especially when they were once your peers. When approaching a working relationship with your team members, remember these tips:

Don’t Ignore Them
One route you may take to navigate your new role is to keep to yourself and avoid addressing your team as their leader. This strategy won’t be beneficial for you or your team. According to a Gallup poll, engagement levels among team members ignored by their managers are as low as 2%. Managers are crucial in the development of team members in both project-based work and professional development. Whether it’s scheduling monthly one-on-ones or planning regroup meetings, be sure to reach out directly rather than waiting for them to come to you – even if it feels awkward at first.

Ask About Life Outside of Work
If you were friends with your team members before you were promoted, you likely spent time with each other outside of work hours. While we don’t encourage you to grab drinks with the team every Friday night, it does help to acknowledge their life outside of their 9-5. 56% of employees who feel strongly that they can discuss non-work-related issues with their manager are more engaged in their work and less likely to leave your organization (Gallup). Making time to grab coffee, step out for a walk, or ask about weekend plans can go a long way in overall engagement.

Recognize and Reward Them Often
Find ways to thank your team members for their work – even if it’s just in an email. 28% of memorable recognition comes from an employee’s direct manager (Gallup). Remember that your team consists of employees with many different styles. Identify the type of recognition to which each person is most receptive. A few ideas could be copying your manager on a congratulatory email, making a physical “trophy” to display on the individual’s desk, or mailing a handwritten card to their house. Use whatever insights you have to adjust the reward to make it personable and meaningful.