If you’re keen to be a good manager, one thing you should be considering is what your team want from you; what employees are looking for from the person managing them. You’re trying to get the best out of your team for the benefit of the organisation, and whilst of course you will need to do things your team members don’t like, understand what they want from you, and giving them that where possible and appropriate, is going help you achieve that.
With that in mind, here are eight things your team members would like from you as a manager:
They are looking for whatever guidance you can give them on how to do their job well. That might be specific instructions, it might be tips on how to navigate relationships with key people they will be dealing with, or it might be a history of the organisation giving vital context to workplace practices and decisions that may not make sense to a new recruit. You are their main source of guidance so give them what you can.
As well as information about how to do their job, they also want information about the organisation’s decision making, objectives and plans, particularly where these may impact the employee. Subject to any restrictions being imposed on you, be as open as you can with employees about what’s happening elsewhere (and higher up).
Understanding that they have a personal life
Your employees want someone who is realistic about, and supportive of, the demands they have on their time and attention in their personal life, understands that occasionally these do affect work, and offers flexibility where possible.
A listening ear
They want someone they feel they can approach with suggestions, concerns, queries and requests, who will take these seriously and address them.
Feedback and reinforcement
Everyone wants positive feedback, so they definitely want that, as often as possible. But actually, your team members also want to know as soon as possible if they are doing something wrong, so that they can put it right. Most people really want to do a good job, so an early steer when things could do with adjusting will be better-received than a formal conversation later.
Your team want you to fight their corner when it comes to it. It might be as a team, if there are decisions being made about redundancies, cutbacks or office closures, or it might be fighting their corner as an individual. Sometimes things go wrong, and if they have not been paid correctly, or have had their holiday messed up, or someone in another team is causing them problems, or another manager is treating them unfairly, they want you to support them in getting those things sorted out.
Nothing feels worse in a work environment that perceiving you have been treated unfairly. Most people can handle disappointments pretty well, but injustice causes resentment which lasts longer than the disappointment itself. Being treated fairly compared to their colleagues, and understanding the reasons for decisions can make a huge difference to your employees’ happiness in the work environment. Fairness also means being given a chance to put things right in the context of a conduct or performance problem.
Your team want opportunities to develop themselves in whatever way suits them best, and those opportunities are largely driven and provided by you – either by coming up with them yourself, or by encouraging them to seek out opportunities more widely, that they may either not be aware of, or may not realise could apply to them.
You will not always be able to manage your employees exactly as they would wish, and part of being a manager is having to make difficult or unpopular decisions. But remembering these fundamental principles employees are looking for will help you bring out the best in your team, and navigate those tricky moments in a way that has the least negative impact possible.
If you’d like some advice on strategies for getting the best out of your team, do get in touch.