Management responsiveness is mission critical to two key culture aspects:
Productivity. The sooner you respond, the quicker your direct report can move on to accomplish the work that needs to be done. This assumes you’ve empowered your people to make decisions within their purview and that they seek you out not for the mundane, but for those issues that require your clarity, guidance or permission. The better and quicker a team member can do their work, the more they can contribute, building their sense of both participation and pride.
Care and respect. To not respond quickly to a team member’s request for your guidance is to suggest that their concern is not a priority to you. Unfortunately lack of responsiveness often translates to: my work is not important to you; my role is not important to you; I’m not important to you. Repetitive experience of feeling invisible, ignored or neglected is a morale killer and turnover trigger.
When clients have concerns, questions or requests for guidance, we don’t hesitate to respond. We don’t make them wait. We don’t tell them we’ll get back to them soon.
Instead, we’re specific. We make promises that we’ll find the answer and get back to them as soon as possible, or by Tuesday morning. And we do. We communicate if there will be a delay. We apologize when we know the delay will negatively impact them.
Your team members deserve the same attention, precision, care and follow through. They serve your clients. (Good reminder: in serving them, you serve your clients.) Your team members need to know that they matter to you, and that the work they do matters also. We often think that recognition (bonuses, rewards, awards) is how we let people know we appreciate them and their efforts. Recognition is icing on the cake. Responsiveness is the cake. Icing alone tastes and sounds condescendingly sticky sweet.
When you answer their call, when you tell them you’ll find out today and you do, when you make sure the tool they use is promptly fixed – that’s when they know. That’s when they know you care.