We will each have our own style of management, but it’s important to recognise that research shows 42% of people leave jobs because of a bad manager (Approved Index, 2015). That fact challenges any of us who are managers to be reflective about our impact on others. When an employee leaves, this can negatively impact on a business by a potential loss of customers, a ripple effect on other staff members and work slippage.
For employees who put up with bad management, their health and wellbeing can really suffer. Research shows that employees with bad managers are more likely to suffer with high blood pressure, chronic stress, sleep problems, anxiety, substance abuse issues, heart attacks and other health problems. Furthermore, an article by Management Today states that “Looking after employees’ mental health might not always have been seen as a top priority, but the business case is very simple: happier staff equals increased productivity and lower levels of absenteeism, thus impacting positively on the bottom line.”
With this in mind, I have put together my top tips on what I believe makes a good leader, getting the best out of your team, whilst also protecting their health and wellbeing.
1. Put the right person in the right job
Hiring the wrong person in the first place can be a costly mistake, so ensure the role fits the person and the person fits the role and organisation. People are happiest and most engaged when they apply their strengths to their job. Instead of changing people to fit a job, good managers play to the strengths of their team members.
2. Accept feedback, but find your own way
Whilst it’s a good idea to listen to what your mentors have to say, try to develop your own style of leadership. If you are new to management, ask yourself ‘Why would anyone want to follow me?’ Overall, I believe that people follow leaders because of what they stand for and how they help their team develop.
3. Be open, honest and straightforward
Trust is key to building a connection with your team, so be as open and honest as you can about yourself, the company, the key goals and what you need from your employees.
4. Delegate wisely
Delegation is one of the most important management skills, but it’s important to do it right. Ensure you: Define the task; Pick the right person for the task; Assess ability and training needs; Explain the reasons; State the required results; Agree realistic deadlines; Support and communicate; and finally, feedback on results.
5. Set realistic goals and deadlines
There’s nothing like an unrealistic target to de-motivate an employee and cause unnecessary stress. Too much work and unrealistic deadlines have been cited
6. Make time to communicate with employees
It doesn’t have to be formal, you could grab a coffee together or meet over lunch. Research has shown that communication is connected to higher employee engagement. If your employee has an issue with something, make sure you find the time to give them guidance.
7. Recognise achievements and say thanks
To develop a positive working environment, give credit to your employees when it’s due. Don’t just wait for the big wins – it can be the little things that make a difference.
8. Don’t take things too seriously
Try to keep things informal and have a laugh with your team if and when you can. Humour can be a good release in a difficult situation and when a task gets too tough.
9. Model management
Try modelling your management style on a boss you really looked up to and admired, but be yourself because that’s what matters most.
10. Be understanding during tough times
If your employee is going through a tough time, listen and offer to help by planning ways to alleviate workload together and allow for reasonable time off when needed.