Build rapport and hear new perspectives by inviting an employee to go to lunch. Focus on connecting with each other as people.
Go for a walk with someone on your team to discuss how things are going. This informal setting equalizes the supervisor-report dynamics.
When faced with a difficult problem, give your people an opportunity to assist. Ask for their thoughts or recommendations.
Ask for feedback on your performance from your employees, either face-to-face or through a note depending on your mutual comfort level.
Ask someone on your team to find a tool to solve an acknowledged problem. Ask for a better tool when people express frustration with their existing tools.
Hearing from one's leader about what he or she believes can have a powerful impact on morale and motivation. State your beliefs to reinforce what you feel is important to your team.
Provide the information (the context) to a team or team member in order to allow them to make their own decision about how to respond to a situation rather than simply telling them what to do (asserting managerial control).
Give people time to think before giving you a response to a big decision. Requests for assistance, or other changes in their expectations often require time to process. Let them think for a moment before forming their response.
People like being able to solve their own problems. When they come to you with unsolved problems, it is an opportunity to help them become better at solving their problems themselves. Offer Socratic guidance instead of answers.
Direct an employee to either take a break. Give them the day off or encourage them to work from home. This is a great reward for someone who has been putting in extra time to meet a deadline or is otherwise working to support the team's goals.
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