The higher up the food chain you are, the less likely your employees are to believe that you have their best interests at heart. Common perception is that supervisors, department heads, managers and on up are interested in their own success, and the company or department’s success – but rarely the employee’s.
This may not be true for you at all, but if you want employee engagement, the holy grail of today’s businesses, then you must demonstrate your interest in your employees’ success and well-being, or develop such an interest if it’s not natural to you.
One of the easiest ways to do that is to cultivate the “How can I help you?” state of mind. To literally, ask employees “How can I help you?” with a sincere, genuine desire both to hear what they have to say, and to help them with their challenges and concerns.
A sterling example of this in action was Doug Conant, who, while he was CEO of Campbell Soup Company, asked “How can I help you?” all the time of his employees, and required his managers to do so as well. Over time, Conant’s approach – genuine and meaningful – completely turned Campbell Soup Co. around, from declining market value and profits, and woeful employee engagement, to a once-again thriving corporation.