5 Ways How Line Managers Engage With Their Team

Posted by Aaron Keegan on 14-Dec-2015 12:07:10

No one can influence motivation, sense of belonging and emotional well-being as much as the boss. (Paul Keijzer)

Unfortunately the opposite is also true and that is why Mark Buckingham's claim that people don't leave companies, they leave bad mangers resonates with so many.

So how line managers engage with their team will help determine that teams' success. This quick blog wont give you all the answers but the 5 points might help you on the way.

1. Compassion

2. Clear

3. Candid

4. Comprehend

5. Credit

Happy individuals are productive employees. Line managers must recognise that the four pillars of a person's happiness:

Physical Health

Mental Wellbeing

Emotional Strength

Professional Career

All have an impact on their performance. Each of these pillars help the line managers ensure their teams are ready for the daily challenges.


Always have empathy for the individual. Demonstrate that they are valued as a person as well as a worker. Look for ways to be proactive such as being a champion for the company's wellness programme and encourage team members to take part. When someone is sick, ensure they get the most appropriate care promptly and when they return carry out an return to work interview. This will show you care and minimise the chances of it re-occurring.


No one enjoys walking a path which might be going the wrong way. Make sure staff are given clear direction and are sure of what they are doing and why they are carrying out an activity.

Two of the pillars are mental wellbeing and emotional strength. A lot of line managers undermine these aspects of a productive employee unintentionally through ambiguous requests or changing the task at hand. It can be very demoralising and frustrating if you are not clear on what is expected from you. A good manager should not only be clear on the specific task at hand but also to relate this task to the larger company goal or strategy.

According to a report from the Corporate Leadership Council if an employee understands not only his job but also its connection and impact on the overall business strategy his committment and performance increases by 30%.


Don't let anything fester. If a problem arises deal with it and move on. Again respect the individuals mental and emotional needs. An employee will always want to know where they stand with the boss. If there is a problem they are keen to be able to address it. Even worse they don't want to be imagining issues that are not there. Don't leave discussion to the next review meeting, get it sorted and put a plan in place so it wont happen again. At the meeting then review how this plan is working. It is always a cycle of continuous improvement.


It is not just about employees understanding the line manager, supervisors also need to know what makes them tick. Have conversations with your team members that are not work or task related. Find out what they enjoy in life and what makes them proud to work in your business. Know the person as well as the worker, this feeling of respect and value will make the staff feel part of a work "family" willing to go that extra mile.

If there is a wellness programme encourage the team to share their goals and objectives for the year. This accountability and support help improve everyones chances of meeting their targets.


Everybody likes being praised, it is affirmation that the task was competed as required or beyond expectation. It is important also that all dialogue with staff is not always negative. Share a story, word of wisdom or previous experience to engage employees, it goes a long way. A strong way to show appreciation at the end of a difficult project is a thank you note, not necessarily for your colleague but maybe their partner recognising the demands that the project took on family time and the support they got at home to make such a valuable contribution.

Line managers are typically promoted due to technical competencies and I won't try and show people how to do a specific job. However, we all deal with people. Remember the four pillars of keeping a person happy and how your actions can have a positive impact on them, then you will substantially improve how you engage with your team.

Give employees the tools to strengthen their own pillars with a proper corporate wellness programme.

Do you recognise Paula & Simon in your organisation?


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