Does One Person Matter?
Updated: Mar 18
You are a leader, even if you only manage a team of one.
“People leave managers, not companies,” is truer today than ever before. And even if you manage one person in an organization of thousands, you are still the key influence on their employee experience.
You will play a large role in shaping their perception of the company as just a place to work, or a place where they understand the mission, believe in the purpose and feel good about being a part. As their manager, you are their conduit to the larger corporate messages and their link to the overarching culture of the company. More than anyone, your attitude and behaviors will influence their day, their work-life balance and their general feelings of positivity and productivity.
That sounds like a lot of responsibility, and it is. But you were given this role for a reason, and to succeed in it, you need to think about the experience you are giving your employee, whether that is 1, 100 or 1,000 people.
Most people start their role as a manager with a simple premise: avoid how their worst manager treated them and emulate their best. And that’s a great place to start. However, intentional leadership requires you to reflect and communicate the following:
Work Style: How do you like to be informed of updates and potential obstacles? Do you prefer to give an assignment and not see it until the end- or provide feedback along the way instead? Is your team empowered to be autonomous and to what degree?
Communication Style: How often do you want to communicate with your employees and team?
Mindset: What attitude do you bring to work every day? When you have a personal or professional issue, do you allow it to color your day and attitude towards others? How do you celebrate success?
Feedback: What type of feedback loop do you expect, and what do you provide?
Growth as a Priority: Have you made their professional growth a priority for you? How do you convey this beyond a discussion of annual goals?
Of course, if you have multiple employees, there are many other considerations on their behaviors in working together. However, your thoughtful and transparent answers to the above will have a significant impact on the experience that your employee has every single day, which ultimately has a ripple effect on how they engage with others at the company, and their levels of satisfaction at work.
Managers should also consider the two-way dialogue needed with each employee to understand their work and communications style. This can be done at the onset of a new relationship through a well-thought-out onboarding program that integrates employees into the company, your team and is the first step to your relationship; and this conversation should also be held at any point to course-correct where working styles may clash, but perhaps an open and transparent discussion has never taken place to set expectations.