Making Management Contact Effective in Today’s Business World…

We all know that things will not return to what they were pre pandemic and there is a new business world out there which, amongst other changes, will utilise the ‘hybrid’ model. So, what role do Managers need to play in this changed business world? The fact is that Managers have a more critical role to play than ever. They need to set clear goals and expectations for their teams and provide insights on performance. Understanding how someone is ‘feeling’ from a remote position isn’t as easy as sitting near to them in an office environment. These are tough challenges that Managers must be able to cope with. Being more distant from an employee (for example) requires a significant amount of trust to be shown in that person by the Manager.

Where does trust come into the ‘hybrid work’ equation? It is proven that businesses   do better when managers show more trust in their team members and avoid micro-management. When managers exhibit high levels of confidence and trust in their reports, it is shown that those employees are almost 90% more likely to experience high levels of engagement.

That said, to put the counter argument, those employees that hear more frequently from their managers — even every day — perform better. Almost 75% of employees said that they want more daily or weekly check-ins than they’re currently getting.

So, what balanced approach should managers take? How can they meet their management needs while also demonstrating trust? The answer is in the content of the engagement with the employee and what those engagements must avoid. There are four key elements:

The goal of each ‘touch base’ is to make sure that your employee has what they need from you and the business to do their job well — now!!!
Use the questions below to structure your discussions:

  • What’s working well for you at the moment and what isn’t so good?
  • What is stopping you in those areas that aren’t so good and how can I help sort the problems?
  • Do you need any information or data that you’re not getting right now?

When you are in regular contact you may find that some issues take more time to resolve than others. For example, sometimes your employee may need clarification around a process or task that you can address on the spot. Other times, they may need resources or tools that aren’t immediately available. For ongoing issues, let your employee know that you’re on top of it, and be clear about the amount of time that it will take for you to get back to them and then meet that deadline. You can use the regular contacts to update them but try to focus it mostly on now.

Your contacts don’t need to be overly formal, or even take much time. It’s better if they don’t. Managers and employees are facing tough workloads as it is, in part because a number of vacancies exist in many businesses and this has left employees shouldering the work of unfilled positions or of departed colleagues.

Keep it brief. Just a few minutes long, probably by video for remote employees or in person if both you and your employee are in the office. You and your team members can determine what works best for them. Different people may have different preferences around communication, so be open to their unique needs.

Serious, ongoing performance problems that involve difficult conversations are better suited to more formal, monthly meetings. These detailed discussions will give you deeper visibility into your employee’s work, give them a chance to reflect on what’s causing the problems, and remind your employee that you care about their long-term goals and career progression.

That said, it doesn’t mean that you should avoid discussing problems entirely in your regular contacts. Instead, use your monthly meeting as a point of reference in your regular daily or weekly meetings, and ask your employee how they’re progressing in addressing the problems you previously discussed. This will show your employee that you trust them enough to give them the autonomy to improve on their own, while also offering in-the-moment observations about how a specific task reflects them moving in the right or wrong direction.

In both cases — monthly meetings and regular contacts — managers should be honest. Research once more shows that when managers are transparent with employees about their performance, there is a huge likelihood that the employee will perform the task much better.

This is also why active listening is so important for managers. If your team members sense that you’re REALLY listening to them, considering what they have to say, and including it in your assessment of their work, a greater level of trust — and a deeper connection — will be developed.

Get feedback from your people on how they rate the quality of these conversations. Include room for more than just numbers. Allow for anonymous responses in which employees share honest and real concerns about how the regular contact process is going. You need this feedback to improve the quality of your meetings and to assess whether the frequency of meetings is working well for your team.

Over time, you may find that daily check-ins become second nature, just another part of the daily workflow. And if your team’s feedback is positive, business, as a whole, will reap the benefits.

Regular and effective contact will hold the key to optimising employee motivation and performance and the tips outlined above will go a long way to achieving this.

If you need any support or help in improving and developing your contact mechanisms and effectiveness together with improving your business performance as a result, get in touch with us at or call us on 0116 232 5231.

Why not have a look at our online learning platform provided by our sister company where you can find useful business tools, courses, articles, access to Experts and more?

Click here to access The Box Academy and see for yourself, you can join for free and if you like what you see, join as a full member giving your people access to a huge amount of learning and development material.

The Tinderbox Team

Courses Related to This Article

Leadership Skills Course

This course is aimed at supervisors and managers that want to develop effective relationships with their teams

Learn More

Developing Good Employee Relations Course

This course covers the many benefits good relations can bring to an organisation.

Learn More