Whether we are thrust into the position of line manager or work hard to attain the role, many of us find that we have to learn on the job and just hope that we are getting it right.
However, whilst some managers might be a natural in the role, others will struggle, demonstrating poor management skills and struggling to get the necessary training to learn any better.
This is not just frustrating for managers and their direct reports, it is also damaging to business as a whole.
The costs of ineffective management
In fact, according to a paper by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, in 2012 ineffective management was estimated to be costing UK businesses over £19 billion per year in lost working hours.
What’s more, this isn’t just an issue relating to lower management, with the In addition, with the BIS finding that incompetence or bad management of company directors was causing 56% of corporate failures.
Of course, these findings provide a clear justification for employers to invest in proper management training for staff. But what if you find that you are in a business that cannot currently afford professional management training? Or that, despite your best efforts, you cannot convince your boss of its benefits?
For that reason, over the next three articles, we will look at nine areas to consider when managing people. Highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly in people management approaches, these top tips should help you hone your management skills for best effect.
The signs of a good manager
First, we will take a look at three characteristics of good people managers:
1. They inspire trust
Managers that build trust with their direct reports are more likely to increase engagement at work.
If your staff can see that you treat everyone in your team equally, set reasonable objectives and listen genuinely to their ideas and concerns, you are showing them that you value them as a person and as an employee.
Just as importantly, if you show you are there to support them when they are challenged by the boss, other departments or other work colleagues, this can go along way towards helping them feel that they can trust your integrity.
If you think that trust isn’t so important, just consider the flipside of working for a boss who never has your back, never listens, treats you unfairly and shocks you with unreasonable and unexpected demands.
It cannot be over-emphasised just how important your relationship with your direct reports is when it comes to keeping them motivated and reassured.
In fact, one study by Dale Carnegie Training found that the number one factor contributing to staff engagement was the employee’s relationship with their immediate supervisor.
2. They encourage open communication
Good managers are excellent at keeping communication channels open and thriving between themselves, their direct reports and the team as a whole.
Not only do they recognise that this frees up ideas and highlights opportunities, they also know that it provides important feedback to help make business improvements.
What’s more, whilst this approach helps drive performance, it also ensures that staff feel more valued and engaged. It’s a winning approach that works not only for the manager and their team but also for the business as a whole.
In fact, one CEB study found that “firms whose culture encourages open communication outperform peers by more that 270% in terms of long-term (10-year) total shareholder return.”
3. They hold regular one-to-ones with team members
In addition to encouraging a culture of open communication in the workplace, good managers also spend time individually with their direct reports to discuss matters specific to them.
By having regular one-to-one meetings, they can build a rapport with each employee and make sure they are fully aware of any aspirations or concerns they may have.
These meetings also give the manager the opportunity to give feedback on employee performance and discuss future objectives.
In addition, where managers have any concerns about the morale or wellbeing of individual members of staff, they provide the perfect opportunity to discuss these matters in private and identify ways to address the situation.
By using these one-to-one meetings to show they care for the person as well as the employee, managers can build a relationship of confidence and trust, which takes us back to where we started.
We’ve had the good, now what about the bad?
In our next article in this series, we will move onto three traits of bad managers, highlighting the negative impact of these behaviours on direct reports and the business as a whole.
Just as above, we will give you tips on how to avoid these traits and instead take a more positive approach to people management.
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Written by Fiona Sanderson
Fiona is Marketing Manager at myhrtoolkit. Her areas of expertise include HR systems, productivity, employment law updates, and creating HR infographics.