In Keith Ferazzi's Never Eat Alone, he speaks immensely on the importance of growing your network and how to do it to grow your career, brand, or company. His knowledge and tips apply at the managerial scale as well. Every great manager is a multi-faceted creature but would be nothing without the collective efforts of their subordinates. Managers should be constantly be checking in and looking to help their employees.
IT'S RELATIONSHIP BUILDING, NOT NETWORKING
Every interaction with an employee or team member is an opportunity to check-in and take a pulse. In his book, Ferazzi mentions that his connecting with the outside world is based on generosity. He loves connecting people, friends with other friends. He quickly discovered that by doing so, he was associated with friends of friends as well. Before he knew it, the small-town boy paved his way to earning a scholarship at Yale and a Harvard MBA.
He emphasizes the importance of establishing genuine relationships rather than the surface-level, desperate and forgetful connections associated with "networking."
He took his natural knack for connecting people and converted his skills into digestible principles, some of which include:
- 'Ping' Constantly: Reach out to your circle constantly, not just when you need something.
- Don't Keep Score: The relationships shouldn't be about giving and taking. You should always try your best to make sure you are getting what you want but that your contacts get what they want.
- Never Eat Alone: It's better to fail and be remembered than to be forgotten or invisible. Put yourself out there for others to meet.
These principles easily relate to the executive branch of connecting with employees as well.
BUILDING CONNECTIONS WITHIN THE COMPANY MOTIVATES PEOPLE TO DO THEIR BEST
Companies and managers of all levels that regularly take the time to have company-wide check-ins – such as lunches, parties, or even formal meetings – tend to do a lot better within the company and as a company. Research done by Humanize confirms this to be true because the managers and employees find out what's going on in the business.
Managers can do these regular check-ins on a smaller scale as well. An excellent department head will check in with each team member individually and the team as a whole. Checking in is different than checking up, mind you.
Rather than seeing if employees have finished a specific task or monitoring how they accomplish their tasks, try changing the narrative.
Try asking questions like:
- What can I do to help?
- Have you run into any obstacles?
- Is there anything you need to get this project done?
Simple rephrasing can make employees feel seen, heard, and cared for rather than judged and undervalued.
Meet them halfway too. Don't be afraid to share with them what you are doing and how you plan to tackle your obstacles, especially when it's relevant to what the rest of the team is working on.
All great managerial connections are two-way streets. They build lasting workplace relationships based on mutual respect, patience, understanding, and listening, as all great relationships do.