Have you ever worked at your dream job but you had a bad manager? If you did, then you may have experienced the following situations:
- It turned your dream job into something you hate.
- It made everything more complicated for you.
- It took a lot of work to stay motivated.
- It negatively impacted both your professional and personal life.
- You finish quitting the job you once loved.
The Gallup organization, a management consulting company, says: “The talented employee may join a company because of its charismatic leaders, its generous benefits, and its world-class training programs, but how long that employee stays and how productive he or she is while there is determined by his or her relationship with their immediate supervisor.”
Companies spend a lot of money on pretty offices, fair and equitable pay, and top-notch technology. Still, if the employee feels they need a better manager, all these other factors are diminished because they will struggle to stay productive and motivated.
6 tips to improve your manager skills
1- Regular performance and development conversations
Employees must believe their manager cares about their well-being and professional success to have a healthy and supportive relationship with him.
The only way a manager can achieve this, they must invest their most precious resource: time. Also, they’ve to be open to listen to better understand their goals, strengths, weaknesses, perspectives, and ideas. These ongoing conversations enable managers to establish a culture where employees feel valued, safe, empowered, and motivated.
2- Set clear and meaningful goals
Meaningful goals are crucial to maximizing performance. Creating clarity of expectations might be the most essential role of a manager. These are 3 types of goals that employees need to thrive.
- Team goals: Common goals are what makes the team a team. With uniting goals, teams can collaborate and build strong relationships.
- Individual goals: Employees need clear personal goals that align with team goals. Achievable and meaningful goals are the foundation for employee engagement and performance.
- Individual priorities: Too often, employees feel overwhelmed by having to respond to the constant barrage of urgent issues that consume most of their time and energy, leaving them scrambling to find “extra” time to try to achieve the most important responsibilities of their role. The unfortunate truth with this mindset is that if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. For an employee to perform at his best, managers must ensure alignment so employees can focus on the right priorities.
3- Healthy delegation
Effective managers constantly evaluate their time and delegate tasks that others can do. The most effective managers do not delegate tasks because they deem themselves “too good” or “too important” but because it is no longer their responsibility. They know that if they focus on activities that others can do, they will avoid paying attention to the important tasks their employees depend on them to complete.
For a leader to effectively delegate, they must first assess how they are currently spending their time and identify the activities that are unnecessarily taking their time from focusing on the more strategic aspects of their role. The following questions can help leaders clarify their priorities.
- What are the most strategic responsibilities of my leadership role?
- What are the activities that only I can do for my team?
- What essential issues require my influence, attention, and authority for success?
4- Feedback Conversations
Few things accelerate individual performance as much as receiving constructive feedback about your tasks execution and behavior. Research from Officevibe highlights why feedback is vital in the workplace despite it being difficult for providers and receivers.
- 62% of employees wish they received more feedback from their colleagues.
- 83% of employees appreciate receiving feedback, regardless of if it is positive or negative.
- 96% of employees said that receiving ongoing feedback is a good thing.
- 4 out of 10 workers are actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback.
Managers should always seek others’ perspectives and gather more information during feedback conversations because few of these conversations are straightforward. The feedback that needs to be communicated is usually not so critical or urgent that a manager cannot take the time to ask questions and listen attentively. Therefore, it is important for managers to be patient and open-minded during feedback sessions to ensure that the feedback is received and processed effectively.
Taking time for questions and listening enables greater insight into how best to deliver difficult feedback messages, create clarity on the next steps, and establish shared accountability.
5- Coaching conversations
Most leaders are promoted to their positions because of their problem-solving skills and their ability to get things done. However, it’s important for leaders to understand that their success is no longer determined by being the primary problem-solver. Instead, it’s about empowering others, developing employees, and building trust to ensure ongoing team success. Coaching is a crucial tool for leaders to achieve this mindset shift. Sir John Whitmore’s GROW model is a simple and practical framework that can guide leaders in coaching others to resolve challenges or issues effectively. The GROW model is an acronym that helps leaders to focus on coaching as a means of empowering others to find solutions.
6- Address employee bad behaviors, even with high-performers
When a leader fails to address the bad behaviors of a star employee, it sends a message to the team that achieving good results is more important than upholding their values, relationships, and ethics. Studies have shown that the more valuable an employee’s work is to the organization, the more likely it is for leaders and co-workers to ignore their questionable behavior. The problem is that the negative impact of such behaviors on the team’s culture often goes unnoticed by leaders. The Harvard Business Review has shared research that highlights the detrimental effects of tolerating toxic employees in its article titled “How Toxic Colleagues Erode Performance.”
- 80% of employees stated they lost work time because of the offending employees’ rudeness
- 78% said their commitment to the organization declined
- 66% said their performance declined
- 63% lost work time in avoiding the offender
For a team to build a culture of trust, it must be clear that how the work gets done is just as important as completing the task.
It’s crucial for businesses to prioritize selecting and developing effective managers who are accountable for their actions. Managers play a pivotal role in creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued, connected, and empowered to produce their best work. They can help foster a culture of collaboration, open communication, and professional growth. Effective managers also possess the ability to identify and address problems quickly and effectively, which can help prevent conflicts and improve overall productivity. By investing in strong management, organizations can create a workplace where both employees and employers thrive.