The importance of good management and how to be a great people manager

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Poor management has an astounding effect on employee engagement and motivation. However, often poor management can be fixed by simply training managers on how to be good managers. A recent ‘Gallup’ Report found that when an organisation has an actively engaged workforce they can expect the following:

  • Lower absenteeism and high productivity
  • Lower staff turnover as employees are more content to stay with their employer for longer
  • Increased personal investment in the business because their opinions and views are being listened to
  • Fewer safety accidents
  • Higher profitability
  • Higher and more sustained business success

This just shows how important employee engagement is and how poor management can have such a detrimental impact on the success of a company.

Promoting from within versus Hiring for a Management Position

To improve employee engagement, companies need to be recruiting and developing the best managers they possibly can. Sometimes promoting someone internally is not always the best idea as they may not be equipped with the necessary management and people skills. Good management is a skill in itself, not everyone is cut out to excel in this role. Generally speaking managers are hired into teams based on success of a previous non-management role, this can have a negative impact on the team as they are not suitable for a management role.

Recruiting good managers can also be problematic. According to Gallup, only 10% of the population have the appropriate skill set required of a good manager. So many companies are damaging their employee engagement by employing managers who are not suitable for the role. The Gallup report also found that an additional 20% of people do possess some of the necessary skills and characteristics required however they do need ongoing development and coaching so they can get the best out of their teams.

How do you know if you are a good manager?

There are lots of attributes that make a good manager, the key ones are:

  • Being assertive in driving business outcomes and delivering results. It’s important for teams to understand and be clear what these are so they can align their own goals with the business. A manager who is vague or appears unsure will not motivate their team.
  • Ensuring there is a balance between the happiness of their employees and business related goals. This is normally associated with work-life balance, so time spent at work versus time spent at home. Employees who are over-worked will become unmotivated and disengaged. Its important managers are able to recognise when an employee may be struggling.
  • Ensuring an open and honest culture within the teams. Owning up to mistakes and taking accountability is hugely important. Teams want to feel like their manager ‘has their back’, that they are supported, that they will be honest with them.

  • Ensuring new recruits are integrated well within the team and within the company. Delivering effective induction training is so important when hiring new employees. New recruits need to feel they have been hired for the right reasons, that they are joining a company or a team where they will feel valued. Most people join a new role with large amounts of enthusiasm, so to ensure this continues it’s important they receive a great induction to set this path.

  • Possess the ability to make decisions free from bias. This can be tricky, especially if managers know their teams well, however being able to make decisions in the best interest of the company and not based on bias is key to being a good manager.

    As a Manager, what can you do to engage your staff?

    Putting in place strategies to engage your staff seems straightforward but having the time to do so is the hard part. As a manager, you should focus your efforts to make time to put the following strategies in place:

  • Getting to know your team. Understanding your team on a personal level can help maintain their engagement. Removing barriers they might be facing will help you get the best out of them. Also if you are aware of problems outside of work, it might help explain why some behaviours are being displayed in the workplace. If an employee feels supported at work, it will have a positive impact on not only them but the wider team.

  • Encouraging employee empowerment. Providing an empowering working environment which encourages employees to take responsibility and work autonomously. A common failing of a manager is micromanaging, by giving your team responsibility to work on their own will affect your teams’ level of engagement in a positive way.

  • Delivering open and honest feedback. This should be done both formally and informally. Scheduling regular one-to-one meetings with your team members to check in with how they are getting on can also be an opportunity to provide feedback. Managers should also ensure their teams receive formal feedback, typically through a performance appraisal meeting. Team members should also be encouraged to provide feedback on other team members to encourage a 360 degree feedback platform which in turn creates a transparent culture.

  • Setting your employees clear expectations. Goal setting does not need to be complicated, being clear and concise will allow employees to really understand what is expected of them – no surprises. A highly engaged workforce will know what is expected of them. Often new hires leave their roles because they are unsure what they are supposed to be doing as no one has taken the time to sit down with them and set clear expectations.

  • Support and encourage your teams goals and aspirations. As we have mentioned before, holding regular one-to-one meetings with your teams individually is a great way to check in and see how things are going. However, it’s also an opportunity to work with your employees to help them reach their goals and achieve their potential. Understanding and actively demonstrating to your teams that your role as a manager is one that drives their careers forward will really help in maintaining their engagement.To summarise, having good managers in place is fundamental to ensuring employee engagement in the workplace. At Harwood HR, we can help recruit, train and develop your managers to ensure you have the right people in place to achieve your business objectives.

    Harwood HR – HR Consultants providing HR Consultancy and HR Outsourced Services.  We provide clear, cost effective HR advice. For a free consultation, please contact us on:

    0117 439 0119 or

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