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Every manager has habits that make them incredibly effective as well as issues that their employees wish they would change. The problem is that many employees won’t tell their manager what those weaknesses are, often out of fear of retaliation. So while managers conduct employee performance reviews pointing out areas for staff improvement, sometimes the manager’s own weaknesses go unaddressed.
There are a wide variety of habits that make managers less effective, but there are three in particular that affect not only the manager’s duties, but also the employees’ job performance and the entire organization. Even if employees do not bring these issues to your attention, it’s worth asking yourself if you could improve in these areas.
As a manager, you must communicate with employees. There is no way around it. You’ll communicate face-to-face, through emails, phone calls and even memos. You’ll give directions, share good and bad news, and answer questions about job-related tasks.
Poor communication makes it difficult for employees to know what you expect of them, causes mistrust, and makes them feel insecure in their jobs.
Good communicators are direct and specific. They ensure the person they’re communicating with understands what has been said. They answer questions honestly and transparently, and don’t try to hide the truth behind half-answers. They also know when and how to share news, when bad news won’t be as well received or when people might be too tired from a long shift to focus on important information.
When you’re a manager, your planning and coordination affects everyone. If your schedule and plan is in disarray, it makes it difficult for employees to do their job, either because they see your lack of systems and think it’s acceptable or because they can’t be systematic if you aren’t.
If you don’t have systems, chances are you’re also not meeting your staff’s needs because you’re too busy dealing with the consequences. This can lead to chaos. You’re always trying to catch up on things you’ve fallen behind on, rather than staying ahead and preventing crises.
Day planners, smartphone calendars, and apps are all available to help you stay on top of things. Delegate duties where possible and set aside specific times to deal with certain tasks, such as paying bills and scheduling shifts.
Your staff does a lot for you, and it’s important that they get noticed for it. Even a simple “thank you” shows your employees that not only are they doing a good job, but you’re noticing it. That goes a long way to making them happy and reinforcing their positive habits.
Implement employee appreciation programs, such as “staff member of the week” to show employees you see their hard work, and remember to say “thank you” to the people around you.
You don’t have to be terrible in the above areas to find ways to improve and showing a commitment to improvement encourages the same in your employees. Give some thought to whether your communication, systems, or gratitude skills could use some work. Ask other people. If your staff seems unable to answer honestly, ask your friends or family. Chances are if you have these issues at work, you have them at home and people will have noticed.
Having solid management habits not only makes your job easier, it decreases employee turnover by providing staff with a stable, appreciative work environment. It makes work a more pleasant place for everyone.