Employees give their best and stick more in the company, when they like their managers/ leaders.
One senior employee in a big corporation once told me, that the reason she stayed for 20 years with the company is because she knew her leaders got her back (aka cared about her). Another great team leader once told me, that the essence of what she learned as a team leader is that people need to be listened to and need love and attention.
Which brings me to an advice by STEVE ARNESON (source):
There are 5 things that every leader should know about their people:
1) Where (and how) did they grow up? Most people like to tell their personal history – where they were born, how they grew up, what their parents did, etc. Take an interest in their backgrounds – not only is it respectful, but you might learn something useful in terms of managing them.
2) What are their hobbies? What do they like to do when they’re not working? Knowing a little about what gives them joy outside of work helps you relate to them more effectively. You might be able to draw a connection from a work project back to something they care deeply about in their personal lives.
3) Who’s the most important person in their life? Find out who that is, and learn their name(s). If they have children, learn their names (yes, all of them – you can do it).
4) What are they passionate about? What really motivates your people? Some people really love sports, or politics, or volunteering in their communities. You can learn a lot about people if you know what really turns them on.
5) What do they want to do with the rest of their life? There are countless insights here – including whether you can help them make their dreams come true. What if you learned that someone always wanted to live abroad – and you had the ability to make that happen with a transfer or job rotation?
This is an advice specific to leaders that manage small teams, as it become very difficult to apply if you manage a big team.