As chief executive of a bank with 40,000 employees, Robert Joss realized he couldn’t get to know everyone. But he built working relationships with his 500 midlevel managers.
“I wanted to let them connect with me as CEO,” recalls Joss, who ran Westpac Banking Corp. in Australia in the mid-1990s. “So I hosted 10 meetings with about 50 managers each.”
He began the sessions by saying, “Here’s how I manage and what’s important to me.” Then he explained what he expected from the group.
Apply the same technique with your team. Meet with employees, discuss yourstyle and summarize your priorities. Tell them what you expect in terms of their performance and why it matters.
At Westpac, Joss often told his managers, “Customer service is important to me. Here’s why.” After emphasizing the role of service, he’d add, “You know better than I do how to serve customers, and I’m counting on you because you have a unique vantage point with them.”
“I wanted the managers to have a sense of ownership,” says Joss, who recently retired as dean of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
When explaining how you manage, share your approach to motivating, communicating and solving problems. If you make decisions a certain way, let people know.
Invite employees to propose suggestions. You may learn that they prefer to get frequent feedback or seek opportunities to propose and test their best ideas.