Alleviate Employees’ Stress through One-on-Ones
According to research in the Hogan Thought Leadership Yearbook 2014, 75 percent of people surveyed said their immediate supervisor is the most stressful part of their job. As a manager, one way you can lessen that stress is to invest in making the manager-employee relationship an approachable and open two-way street.
A great framework to enable any manager in this endeavor is having recurring and effective one-on-ones. A one-on-one is a timeboxed meeting between two people in an organization with space dedicated for both open-ended conversation and anticipated discussion.
“Yeah, yeah,” you might be saying. “I already have one-on-ones, and I have mastered them.” In that case, great! You might already be seeing the benefits. But simply having one-on-ones because they’re inherited or expected is not enough to realize their potential.
To make one-on-ones maximally effective, as the manager, you’ve got to be available, prepared, and engaged. It has to be more than a one-way status update.
I have worked in several software industries in multiple states over the past fifteen years, and in my experience, the idea of one-on-ones being important did not manifest itself in a widespread fashion until six or seven years ago. Before I became a manager, I assumed that type of meeting was typically reserved for higher-ranking people in the organization. I didn’t see individual contributors having one-on-ones outside of their performance assessment cycle. It’s no wonder so many employees identified their boss as the most stressful part of their job.
Now that I am a manger, I see the importance of bosses being a regular part of their employees’ professional lives—of being approachable and in touch with the day-to-day business.
As software professionals, our employees have plenty of stressors: demanding deliverables, customer deadlines, and rapidly changing technologies. As their manager, you don’t have to be one of those stressors! Have an active part in developing a relationship with your employees to establish trust, safety, growth, and creativity. Not only will this improve your employees’ view of you, but it will evolve our organizations and help them remain competitive in the long term.
Our people are the ones solving our most challenging problems and discovering our most interesting opportunities. By combining a regular one-on-one cadence with effective communication strategies, you can invest in yourself as a manager and make strong investments in your employees. Ensuring your people are heard, growing, and valued will have the biggest positive impact on your organization.