Managing employees is an interpersonal and organisational skill set with many viable approaches. The approach that works for one business or manager will not necessarily work in all circumstances, as management necessarily reflects the personalities of both the manager and their staff. Managing employees effectively increases their motivation, their satisfaction and their productivity, leading to a better workplace and a more profitable business overall.
What does effective management consist of?
Managing the workforce is a role performed by a company’s leadership and its human resources department. It includes everything from defining the roles of employees, monitoring their performance, organising workflow, resolving conflicts, managing their schedules and leave and offering them support and training. While some of these roles can be delegated to be handled by supervisors or human resources staff, other higher level responsibilities necessarily fall on the directors. Higher level management includes:
- Defining the company culture
- Defining the organisational purpose
- Motivating the organisation as a whole
- Defining the roles and responsibilities of different teams and individuals
As the tasks become more minute and personal, they become easier to delegate. These duties include:
- Scheduling meetings and training sessions
- Handling leave
- Distributing tasks
- Paying employees
- Resolving complaints
- Accommodating special needs (e.g. health / dietary / etc)
As organisations grow it becomes impossible for the director(s) to manage all the employees directly. By delegating the daily management of employees to team leaders, supervisors, office administrators or human resources staff, the managers can focus on upper-level management and leading the company forward.
What are the keys to good management?
There is no one approach to management which trumps all others, but there are a few common practices that are broadly applicable. A good manager is one who:
- Builds trust and respect in working relationships: effective bosses keep employees accountable, while staying accountable themselves. By fostering a relationship of mutual respect and ensuring promises are delivered on both sides, both the manager and employee enjoy a better working relationship.
- Creates a supportive environment that motivates employees: keeping people engaged with the task at hand is essential, especially when circumstances make it difficult. Good managers ensure that they have created adequate support structures and offered meaningful incentives to motivate effective work.
- Establishes a system for constructive feedback: a good manager has to be able to give employees criticism in a way which doesn’t harm the relationship, which means creating an environment of open communication and accountability. This is a two-way street, so managers must also be willing to take constructive feedback in return.
- Takes a genuine interest in the people they manage: building a meaningful relationship with an employee is no different than in any other area of life, and truly great managers connect with their employees on a personal level, understanding their personalities, their goals and their history.
There is no silver bullet to managing people. The reality involves compromise and flexibility, as well as a desire to understand and be understood. It is no coincidence that great managers are often also great people.