Most people think that they are a good manager – but how many people ask those that really matter – their staff?

Several years ago a YouGov survey polled hundreds of staff and about one third of them did not rate the performance of their manager very highly!  If you are a manager, how effective are you at motivating your staff?  The following pointers may prove invaluable.

  • Communicate where the business is going.  If you want your staff to be committed to your organisation, they need to know where they are going and why.  People need to understand how their work contributes to the company’s success. After all, having meaning and purpose in your work is highly motivating and rewarding.
  • Set clear expectations.  Be clear with your staff both in terms of ‘what’ needs to be achieved and ‘how’ it should be achieved.  Setting clear goals and targets with staff can help them understand what needs to be done and keep them focused.  However, it is also important to talk to them about ‘how’ they should go about achieving their goals.  For example it is not acceptable to achieve a target but destroy relationships with colleagues or customers in the process.
  • Delegate more.  Try not to over control your staff’s work.  The more you control others work it will only encourage behaviour that necessitates control.  Most people want the freedom to complete a task in the way that they think is best.
  • Regularly review performance. Employees need regular feedback about their performance to improve their skills and grow professionally. Make sure you regularly sit down with your staff (at least 6/7 times per year), to discuss with them what they do well and identify with them what they should do differently and how you can help.
  • Recognize people’s efforts. Everybody appreciates being recognized for a job well done.  Monetary rewards aren’t the only way to thank employees for a job well done. In fact the easiest way to recognise someone’s contribution is simply saying “thank you” — simple words but too often overlooked.
  • Deal with problems promptly.  Stay in tune to your staff so you can be proactive and resolve situations before they escalate. If you notice a change in an employee’s work habits, performance or behaviour, try to resolve the problem before it starts affecting the rest of your team.
  • Be firm but fair. For example, family emergencies and other unplanned events will always arise, and its part of a managers role to show compassion by being flexible with work hours and time off so their staff can tend to important matters. Employees always appreciate a sympathetic boss, and will repay your support for them many times over.
  • Be a coach and mentor. As a manager, one of the greatest things that you can give an employee is by sharing your knowledge and experience. Showing your employees firsthand how you deal with a task, what works and what doesn’t is far more effective than just talking them through it.

It takes time and effort to be a good manager.  Too often during busy times when work’s piling up, people forget to manage others and concentrate on their own tasks.  However, employees depend on their manager’s strength, guidance and support especially during tough economic times and this takes time, time to listen, time to discuss and time to coach.