What’s the secret to being an engaging manager? A focus on the individual.

A focus on an individuals objectives, development and opinions are the three most common traits of an engaging manager, according to business executives.

Why is it important to have an engaging manager?

Its good for our health!

Much of the discussion and evidence around employee engagement centres on the performance improvements that can be gained for the organisation, but what of the individual?

As individuals we spend most of our time at work and interacting with our line manager. The quality of the interaction between line manager and staff has an impact outside of work on our personal health and wellbeing (consistently working with a disengaging manager has been shown to increase our risk of heart disease by 30%).

A line manager provides the lens through which the employee views the organisation. Part of their responsibility is to motivate people behind a vision in order to deliver the goals; to engage employees but do they need to be engaging?

Last month we asked executives to share what an engaging manager looked like to them. Here are some of the key themes:

Working with a team of individuals

An engaging manager takes the time to understand what is important to each member, building a relationship with them so he knows his or her team members on a personal and professional level.

This then allows the manager to manage each team member as an individual ensuring that his or her personal needs are understood and reflected in the employment relationship.

Focus on individual’s objectives

It’s part of a manager’s role to ensure that the team delivers the organisations goals and objectives. An engaging manager is clear about their expectations and links these back to the company vision. The emphasis is on the individual, so each team member is clear about his or her purpose and how their role contributes to the success of the company’s goals and objectives.

Focus on individual’s development

Another part of a manager’s role to ensure that the team has the skills to deliver the organisations goals and objectives. An engaging manager nurtures their staff and uses formal and informal opportunities to feedback on their progress (positive and developmental). They work with individual team members to create career goals and they are genuinely interested in the development and wellbeing of each of their staff.

Focus on individual’s opinions

An engaging manager trusts individuals to take decisions and provides autonomy in their role. But they also encourage feedback and participation from their team members and incorporate their ideas to strengthening the effectiveness of the team. Engaged managers are always learning and open to feedback.

Finally they lead and inspire

There are many other traits that each of us will associate with an engaging manager. Throughout those discussed above and the many others runs a need for strong communication skills and the ability to engender trust.

An engaging manager can build a trusting relationship through open two-way communication on the company vision, showing an understanding of employees needs as they are incorporated into the process. An engaging manager doesn’t just manage. They lead and inspire the team.

“In terms of personal attributes I have noticed that it is helpful to have someone who has lots of energy, is confident (because they are able) and is happy with who they are. Finally, from what I have seen really engaged managers are always learning.”

Are you an engaging manager? Ask your people. A 360 degree feedback will help you to understand where you are performing well as well as highlight your blind spots.

Thank you to everyone who contributed their thoughts and ideas on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.