As a manager, we rely on our team to get the job done. If we have poor performing staff, then the project at hand will reflect this. However, the way managers perform also impact project outcomes. Although they may not be the ones actively carrying out project duties, the way they manage has a flow-on-effect to others in the team and the way they respond.
Even managers have managers. However, the difference is, when a manger is impacted negatively by their manger’s leadership style, then they may take it out on those in their team. Whether it’s intentional or not, managers who are “under the pump” may snap at a staff member or put unrealistic expectations onto outcomes and deadlines.
However, those who aren’t managers react differently to negativity at work. If employees don’t have anyone reporting to them, rather than taking it out on individuals, they may take it out on the project at hand, impacting productivity.
In order to prevent a fall in staff morale and performance, here is how managers can get the most out of their staff.
Respect work hours
Whether it’s 9 – 5, shift work or part-time hours, it’s important to try and keep work between these times. However, there will always be times where teams may be required to work late. For example, if there is a work event or big project deadline looming.
Most employees will understand and be happy to work out of work hours for important reasons, such as the above. The underlying word being “important”. If they find that their manager is constantly asking them for a debrief at close of business or getting them to come in early for a meetings on a weekly basis, then this will impact morale and their respect for the project at hand. They will see this as either a time management weakness on their manager’s behalf or that their manager is just being selfish.
If employees don’t feel respected, then this will flow onto how they approach their work. If as manager you are mindful of work hours, respect lunch breaks and allow your staff to leave on time, then when you really require them to stay back, then they are more likely to do this happily, willingly and productively.
Say thank you
Saying thank you may be a simple gesture, but it can go a long way. By showing appreciation for your staff, it can cause a significant boost in productively and overall attitude to work.
We all get busy at work. We all have our own responsibilities, deadlines and stresses. So, the updated document you may have asked your staff member to do might sound like a small task to you. But they may have had 5 other important tasks, and to get this to you on time was an effort and a result of hard work.
By saying thank you, it shows you acknowledge their hard work, it’s not taken for granted and that you see the effort that went in behind this task.
Saying thank you on a regular basis will see you get more out of your staff and prevent a situation of them building up resentment towards your management style.
Show appreciation and kindness
Similar to saying thank you, showing appreciation for your staff is another way to get the most our of them at work. However, there are times where you can do more for your team than just say thank you.
For example, allowing staff to have a “sleep in” after a big event launch the night before, providing lunch for end of financial year or encouraging them to go home if they’re feeling under the weather are all gestures of management kindness.
These acts of appreciation show staff that you don’t just care about the job at hand, but you care about their wellbeing and happiness at work too. This will translate into being more focused at work. If you care about your staff, they will care more about their work.
Delegate according to expertise
Everybody on a team will have stronger and weaker areas in their skill set. As a leading manager, it’s important to recognise who on their team is a better equipped at a task than someone else.
When you match up tasks to an individual’s strengths, you will see not only more work get done, but a better quality of work.
A way to recognise if you have made an incorrect match up is if you see somewhere falling behind in other priorities or asking you for help on a regular basis for the same task. Recognise these signs, and try and delegate according to skill set.
Being a manager is more than just overseeing a project or team. Above all, it’s about overseeing a team in order to get the right outcome. This ultimately takes a mix of respect, appreciation and an understanding of team strengths.
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world.