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A+ Employees Need A+ Managers

August 1, 1999
Related Topics: Motivating Employees, Featured Article
Motivating "A+" employees takes A+ managers and team leaders. A+ managers attract and retain key employees because they build trust and commitment—the basis of loyalty. According to Caela Farren, president of MasteryWorks Inc. in Annandale, Virginia, and author of Who’s Running Your Career?Creating Stable Work in Unstable Times (Bard Press, 1997), here are some of the things that top managers do.

Appreciate uniqueness.
Managers who genuinely appreciate the uniqueness of each person know what counts to key employees in terms of both their professional and personal lives. They help create work environments that are in synch with their talents, interests, values and personal life. They build trust and confidence, and become partners in the ongoing process of developing tomorrow’s leaders. They help employees answer the question, "How am I unique?"

Assess capability.
A+ managers assess the capabilities of their team members in these areas—reputation, performance (both individual and team) and breadth of support networks. They recognize potential, they seek out talent, they have powerful conversations with employees. They speak to others about their employees’ capabilities, and they open doors to opportunity.

Anticipate the future.
A+ managers lead others in the organization. They’re constantly helping employees determine how the world of work is changing and how these changes will impact their jobs and new skill requirements. They don’t worry about the future—they feel secure because they’ve already envisioned the ways their industry, organization, key professions, other corporations and competitors might change over the next decade.

Align aspirations.
A+ managers realize that changes in life situations—family, health, technology and organizational strategies—may alter goals and aspirations, so they maintain ongoing conversations with key employees. They know that harnessing the ambition and passion of their people to the mission of the organization can only produce great benefits for both. By encompassing both the business goals of the organization and the professional goals of the employees, A+ managers create win/win partnerships built on trust and loyalty.

Accelerate learning.
A+ managers realize that continual learning is the requirement of the day. Workers must constantly build their knowledge and competence or risk obsolescence. Employees believe this as well. They want challenging work and want to know that their skills are up to date.

Workforce, August 1999, Vol. 78, No. 2.

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