What could you do to be a better boss? Love Energy Savings reveals what employees think about their managers – and how they can improve their conduct
Many managers are, apparently, being found wanting when it comes to their leadership style. Earlier this year Love Energy Savings conducted research which delved into what employees truly think of their bosses – and the results were telling. The findings included that:
- 9% of respondents thought positively about their manager’s performance;
- 5% thought negatively about their manager’s performance;
- 5% felt their manager was ‘satisfactory’.
Interestingly, men aged 18-24 were found to be most likely to rate their manager as inadequate, while all other age brackets for all genders were most likely to rate their boss good or excellent but with over a third of survey respondents responding negatively to their superior’s management style, it’s time to reflect on why.
Are some managers struggling to build a rapport with employees? Are they distant with them? Do they treat them as ‘beneath them’ or judge their work too harshly? This lack of a positive relationship can seriously impact staff loyalty and retention, ultimately affecting the company’s bottom line.
Be honest. How often do you think about your management style? Can it be improved? Based on its survey results, Love Energy Savings has suggested a few behavioural improvements that managers should make in order to improve company culture, workplace performance and overall wellbeing at work.
Give staff space to excel
Nobody likes to be micro-managed, and there’s a thin line between getting involved and taking over entirely. Hovering over staff while they work suggests that you don’t trust them to do their job without a babysitter, while stepping back will allow them to feel empowered in their role and enable them to do their best work.
Show your staff you value them
For any business, the staff are its greatest asset. Sadly, too many managers take their employees for granted and fail to see each employee as an individual person.
“Many of the individuals I work with feel that no one really cares about their career within their organisation, just what’s needed from them,” says Lucia Knight, a career satisfaction coach. She goes on to offer a simple solution to this. “A ten-minute real listening exercise can really nip some small problems in the bud before they become big problems in the future.”
Leave your ego at the door
As a manager you are in a position of power – but it’s important to make sure that power isn’t being abused. There’s a big difference between being authoritarian and a tyrant. An egotistical leader is highly likely to see staff morale plummet, and getting too lost in that ego can lead to a loss of objectivity and poor business decisions. Putting the expertise of your staff, as well as yourself, to good use will make them feel like team players and encourage a more creative atmosphere.
Sue Andrews, business and HR Consultant at KIS Finance, recognises the importance of listening to and understanding your team. “Empathy is not always at the top of the list of characteristics that people see as essential in a good leader,” she says, “but, without the ability to place themselves in others’ shoes, and see the wider picture, leaders run the risk of taking an autocratic approach which may, eventually, prove unpopular with those around them.”
So how can managers inspire their staff? Being a manager is all about getting the best from your team and applying that top performance directly to the business.
Invest in staff
Invest time, expertise and money in your staff and give them the attention they need to ensure they don’t stagnate. Treat them as the strong commodity they are and they are far more likely to achieve their highest potential. Giving them exciting tasks that break up their usual, day-to-day pattern allows them to flex their creative muscles, and creating personal development plans for them gives them the opportunity to have a say in their progress, and forge their own path.
Being open and honest with staff is the only way to ensure they respect you as a manager – it’s as simple as that. Create a culture of open communication and they will feel able to approach you with any queries they have, creating a real connection and a sense of purpose.
Be a leader
It sounds obvious, but leadership is about being an example to your team, sharing successes and failures with them and exploring a variety of potential situations or outcomes. Your expertise is a learning opportunity for your team.
“Business leaders have three choices,” Bob Bradley, MD and founder of MD2MD, points out. “They can try to command hierarchical power, expert power, or respect power. The latter is the most effective for an organisation. Leaders must have the ability to create willing followers. Naturally, in order to do this, they must create something tangible to follow: a shared vision, a common goal, a culture, and a way of working.”