By:  David Othus

The greatest challenge that a manager faces is setting his employees for success. What make the task more difficult are the opposing theories that are enough to confuse us. While some theories believe in letting people work on their own, others propose to be too critical and intervening. Is there a middle path that will help employees to remain motivated and learn the job and ensure their success? Let’s find out.

Soft skills development – what managers can never ignore


It has been found that soft skills play a greater role in motivating employees to give their best. While technical knowledge is important, every manager must pay attention to nurturing his employees emotionally and psychologically so that they are able to take up challenges and are better prepared for future responsibilities.

What managers should stress on is understanding how he can set his employees for playing their role and becoming an integral part of the system.

Personal interaction – a ‘hello” at the beginning of the day or a small chat over lunch break can make an employee feel valued by his superior. Interactions on a daily basis keep the channels of communications open that helps in building rapport. It is important to share the problems and accomplishments of the employees to build a strong bond of trust and friendship. Such bonds help in understanding the employees and delegating tasks that they can handle.

Developing a friendly relationship would also help managers in team formation and assigning roles.

Empower your employees – Being critical and controlling does not help, neither does being too lenient. What managers need to do is to empower their employees so that they can manage their own performance and also become responsible towards their job. By giving autonomy and entrusting them with greater responsibilities, the manager can show his trust and this would work as a great motivator.

In today’s work environment, where people work in virtual teams spread across the globe, it is important to make each employee responsible towards his role. The manager has to engage his employees and make them a part of the greater vision.

Design rewards and recognitions – we can never undermine the role of recognition in motivating employees. Rewards also show faith in the abilities of the employees and inspire them to take up bigger roles in the future.

However, it is also important to design the rewards keeping in mind the interest of the employees. While some may like to receive cash rewards, others may prefer to get felicitated in kind.

What matters is the approach the managers take to put up their employees for success. It is important to connect to them and show deep interest in their development and chalk out a vision that appeals to them.

In my own life I have found this to be extremely true, and the heights to which my good managers have attained compared to the rest is quite dramatic.  In the case where I worked for a positive and uplifting manager, I was able to accomplish things I never knew I was capable of, and felt a deep sense of motivation and loyal to him.  In a few years, this manager has gone from a low level manager to a Vice President at the company he works at.  His philosophy of helping people to become their best, and concentrating on the soft skills has truly paid off.