A positive and healthy workplace culture will not flourish without the hard work and dedication of leadership teams. It’s not easy to make the office a place that people look forward to coming to, but it’s crucial if a business wants to maximize its productivity and benefit from effective teamwork. Managers can use a range of techniques to ensure that people feel valued, to build team spirit, and to create a happy working environment.
Developing an individual style of management
Successful management is about much more than supervision and guidance. In order to get the best out of every employee, managers also need a deep understanding of how to support people and keep the department as a whole running smoothly. There are several types of management styles, but most managers blend traits from each of these to develop an approach that works for them and their team. It’s a complex process that can take considerable time to get to grips with. Real-world experience is useful, but management skills can also be learned or refined through St. Bonaventure University’s online MBA. This course is designed for people with diverse undergraduate qualifications and can be completed in just 20 months.
There are many techniques involved in good leadership. The right ones for the given situation will vary depending on the number of people that a manager is responsible for, the industry they are working in, and the organization’s goals. However, in any workplace, managers set the standard for their team and have a huge impact on the company culture.
Why is the effective management of employees so important?
Managers ensure that employees have the tools, experience and motivation to deliver an excellent level of performance whenever they are at work. This means that the organization is more likely to reach its goals for productivity and thereby become more profitable. Ideally, all managers should be interacting with all levels of employees, regardless of their seniority, as this gives them an insight into each area of the business. Moreover, when staff feel noticed and valued, they tend to experience increased job satisfaction. As a result, they stay in their position for longer and put effort into doing a good job. Effective management can transform a company that is struggling, driving it forward in terms of product quality, communication and problem-solving. These improvements streamline processes that are unhelpful or outdated and swiftly improve workplace culture. Below, we look at some of the main features of great management and ways to build a healthy workplace culture.
What are the essential aspects of positive management?
On a day-to-day basis, there are several roles and responsibilities that a manager has to fulfil to help employees. These can vary in scope according to the company’s objectives, but they have certain features in common.
Recruitment and onboarding
Recruiting people who are right for a specific role is partly down to the human resources department, but managers will often sit in on interviews to vet applicants. As well as considering the potential employee’s personality traits, they will also ensure that they have the skills required to do the job. Moreover, they will consider whether the person is a good match for the people who are already in the team. It’s a challenge, but this area of management is key for nurturing a healthy workplace atmosphere and putting employees in a role that allows them to show off their talents fully.
As well as recruitment, keeping hold of good people is an ongoing issue for many US businesses. When new recruits quit after a few months or a year, it is costly for a company in several ways. Primarily, they have to invest in additional rounds of recruitment, but also, they have to train new people to do the job. That’s why managers need to establish a proper program of onboarding for new employees, one that makes them feel welcome in their new role and aware of their responsibilities.
Only the largest organizations have the ability to develop lengthy in-house training programs for their recent hires, but at least one week or two should be set aside for new hires to bed in. They might be given an experienced employee as a mentor, be asked to tour the facility, and be included in meetings so that they begin to feel part of the company. Not everyone has the confidence to introduce themselves to others, especially in an unfamiliar situation. So, to a certain extent, managers need to take new hires under their wing at this initial stage and make the process as easy as possible.
Regular interactions and involvement
To ensure that everyone stays engaged with their work and is productive, managers can use various types of interaction. They might chat in a relaxed way about job expectations, ask employees for their feedback on a new process, give ideas or take note of problems. If an issue crops up that the manager is not qualified to deal with, they should take it to someone more senior or an executive – good managers never ignore employee concerns.
Checking in each day or every week also provides managers with the opportunity to ensure that any previous issues have been resolved and evaluate how the workflow is going. By helping people to set goals and establish a set of priorities, managers ensure that they stay organized and focused. These routine interactions fulfill several key duties for managers. However, they are also of benefit to employees. By showing up and listening, managers assist the team with any outstanding problems, help them to fine-tune their schedule and demonstrate that they care about each person as an individual.
Measuring the team’s performance
Monitoring the performance of individuals and teams can sound like an intrusive practice, but it’s a constant responsibility for managers. It ensures that goals are being met and employees are not experiencing any barriers to productivity. Often, employees take part in appraisals after their work has been evaluated by their manager. This might happen regularly throughout the year or bi-annually.
Part of the reason why evaluations are so useful is that they allow managers to lay out their expectations. In doing this, they explain to an employee what needs to be done in order for them to get a pay rise or a promotion, or avoid being laid off. An aspect of evaluations will also involve the employee considering their own performance and reviewing the aims that they previously set for themselves. For both the employee and the manager to review progress in a meaningful way, the metrics for every goal need to be clearly defined.
Regulating staff behavior
In a workplace where certain employees are not pulling their weight or they are making others feel uncomfortable, managers need to step in. When it comes to disciplining a member of the team, this should be based on the employee failing to meet a specific target. This could be in terms of punctuality, performance or teamwork. Everyone should be aware that when that benchmark is not met, action will be taken. In most workplaces, managers use a progressive approach, which begins with a gentle warning (assuming that the unwanted behavior is mild) and moves on to a more severe reprimand, either verbal or written, if the problem persists or escalates. This protects the business from legal action and also the employee.
The employee handbook will contain a set of rules or guidelines that many employers consider to be contractual. Additionally, it’s a great help if managers take the time to clarify exactly what behavior will result in disciplinary action and when immediate dismissal could be used. Verbal warnings are given in private and managed tactfully.
A written warning usually represents an escalation, but it also gives a manager the chance to lay out ideas for fixing the issue. Some managers will put a staff member on a period of probation if the written warning does not have the desired effect, or issue a final warning, which is essentially the same thing. The termination of a person’s contract tends to be the last resort, but if all other attempts to solve the problem have failed, managers have little choice. They need to safeguard their organization, but also show other team members that they will be protected from a rogue employee’s bad behavior.
Recognizing a job well done
To keep the team motivated, the best managers provide plenty of verbal encouragement, but also rewards. These could take the form of cash bonuses, gifts or simply positive feedback and praise for work that is of a high standard. Managers will let their senior team know which employees have been singled out as a matter of course, so when a promotion becomes available, that person is first in line. By using positive reinforcement, managers incentivize delivering a consistently good performance. In the long term, it enhances job satisfaction and aids retention, but also encourages people to value their work and to go the extra mile when asked. This could be through working overtime in busy periods or helping coworkers without being prompted to do so.
What are the characteristics of a good manager?
Experienced managers know that the responsibility for creating a work environment that people enjoy falls on them. An employee-centered style of leadership is empowering. It inspires people to work hard, but also gives them the confidence to be creative. It keeps the best people loyal and ensures that company-wide goals are accomplished reliably.
Open the channels of communication
Communication is a vital part of leadership. The ability to speak and the ability to listen are of equal importance to managers. The team needs to feel like what they have to say is important, that their opinions have value, and that their contributions make a difference to the operation. By the same token, managers should be able to remind more seasoned employees of what the company’s vision is and what they are working towards, because it’s never just about the paycheck.
All employees deserve current information and regular updates on any changes to their roles or working environment. This ensures that they feel secure in their position and are less likely to suffer from stress. Openness puts an end to unhelpful rumors and speculations circulating when changes are afoot. Furthermore, clarification means that people can do their job independently without repeated corrections.
Clear communication establishes trust and a workplace culture of honesty. If there is a problem, managers need to know about it sooner rather than later. This ensures that an issue can be tackled at an early stage before it becomes worse. Moreover, when employees can speak freely, they are assured enough to offer ideas for change, and their hands-on experience often means that these measures are successful.
Treating all employees equally
Treating workers fairly and consistently is another method of building trust. It also supports better staff morale and, as a result, makes people more productive. A manager who demonstrates favoritism will be noticed for all the wrong reasons and their behavior will have a negative effect. Leaders who are committed to treating everyone fairly, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity or disability, will gain the respect of their team. This can also give the company a great reputation. People tell their friends if they have a good experience at work, which makes it easier to recruit talented individuals.
Effective ways of achieving fairness in a workplace include clearly written policies, a commitment to fair practices, and regular enforcement of company rules. Organizations also rely on the impartiality of a manager. By treating all staff justly and being seen to do so, they let every person know that they are valued equally. This reassures staff and encourages people to reach their potential within the business.
Nurturing personal success stories
Some employees just want to do their work and go home, while others are very ambitious. Managers need to listen to the needs of every team member to ensure that they are taken into consideration. By learning what aspirations people have and what they require to meet these, in terms of training, equipment or tools, leaders can ensure that employees feel supported.
Building robust teams through delegation
Managers who are skilled at delegating tasks and duties can strengthen a team. It’s not just about assigning single, one-off tasks to individuals. In the long run, managers need to delegate entire projects to employees and set a timeline for completion. Rather than feeling under pressure, workers respond to realistic goals by gaining a sense of achievement and responsibility. Managers can help by matching the right people with the right duties and giving them autonomy over their work. Doing so lets people see their potential more clearly and helps them to understand more about their role in the company.
Leading by example
Managers who behave in the way that they expect their team to are setting an example. This is an effective way of establishing expectations and maintaining strong employee performance, even when there are tight deadlines. Confident managers are accountable for their decisions and admit their mistakes. Transparency in leadership paves the way for honesty from the team, which means that managers are never kept in the dark and problems are nipped in the bud.
Improving the work environment
Given the right environment, staff have every chance to excel and the company experiences a period of enhanced productivity. Good managers work hard to keep the workplace functional by storing the resources that a team needs close by, facilitating interaction with nearby teams and making people feel physically comfortable. This could involve removing distractions, adding air conditioning or providing better-quality furniture.
People who are uncomfortable will find it difficult to concentrate, and this can quickly lead to mistakes and eventually, downtime. When managers are asked to make a change, they need to show a willingness to consider the request and act on it where possible. Employees who see the company making an effort to enhance their environment will be more loyal, but also more productive.
Taking a balanced view
All employees need the right work-life balance. Having fun outside of work is essential for a person’s wellbeing and ensures that when they return, they are ready to get started again. Employees who feel compelled to work long hours, or take fewer days of leave, are vulnerable to burnout. This leaves the company with recruitment problems and potentially, a tired and unmotivated workforce. With the support of their senior leadership team, managers can allow flexible working practices, ensure that people have an achievable workload, and encourage them to take their vacation entitlement.
Excellent management is about creating a positive workplace in which people are satisfied in their roles and feel valued. All employees are unique, so managers need to communicate with every member of the team regularly to ensure that they are reaching their potential. As new initiatives are introduced, managers provide direction and support so that people can focus on their performance. This stability ensures that the workforce and the company can thrive through changing fortunes and circumstances.
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