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Many managers read all the talk about employee engagement and think that happy employees will automatically level up their productivity; unfortunately, managing performance isn't that simple. There's one more element of the equation: a manager's rapport with his or her team.

As Jason Lauritsen points out in his latest column for Switch and Shift, high-energy folks who are happy to come to work aren't necessarily the most productive ones in terms of a company's bottom line -- at least, not without some recognition and guidance from a manager and focused, results-oriented professional development.

Managing for Extreme Productivity

I'm lucky to have had my first management job under one of the best leaders I've ever encountered in my life. As GM of a high-volume upscale restaurant, she had a way of fostering a rapport with each of us managers that inspired us to do better, to surpass expectations, to be fearless of failure and eager to learn from mistakes.

The quality of that work relationship made us hungry for more chances to make her life easier and, in turn, improve the restaurant's bottom line. We didn't blink an eye at closing the restaurant and staying until 4 a.m. to make sure the books were balanced and that the opening managers were set up for success. We worked 10 days straight some weeks, exhausted yet still hungry to work. Why? We knew the context of our GM's decisions: based on our rapport, we knew that our schedules were only this grueling when it was mission-critical. And she worked that same schedule alongside us.

We strove to manage our servers, bartenders and hosts as she managed us: timely feedback, positive yet firm coaching and boundless energy. Their engagement, and the rapport we built, led to higher sales, better service ratings on secret shopper reviews, and profit. I've since taken these management lessons to four different companies, each time supercharging team productivity and performance.

Turning Employee Engagement Into Productivity

The secret to fostering a high-performance team as a manager? Create and protect a culture that thrives on learning and feedback. Then, build relationships with your direct reports that genuinely and thoroughly inspire them. This isn't about making friends; instead, it's about earning mutual respect over time.

This culture will become contagious, and you'll have a team that's driven and motivated to do things right. Isn't that worth a little effort on your part?

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