Maintaining Good Management-Staff Communication
A key difference between a happy and productive workplace and a poor performing one plagued by apathetic and unmotivated staff is good communications between staff and management.
Managing Staff for a Happy and Productive WorkplaceOrganisations need good management-staff relations in order to function at a high level. The fact that the Sunday Times’ ‘Top 100 Workplaces’ as voted by staff, are also the most productive and profitable is far from coincidental.
Nevertheless, although this annual competition shows there are many organisations that take great pride in their fine staff relations, all too many more working together somewhat less harmoniously. Recent research, for example, found that managers in the UK were ranked as the worst in Europe for keeping employees informed about vital business developments. Such poor communication staff means that employees feel left out of decision making and are much less likely to put in that extra effort.
So having established that good staff communications equals a happier and more productive workplace, what can those companies struggling way behind the top 100 workplaces pacesetters do about it – how can you improve communication with staff?
Managing a Team of Equals and IndividualsThe popular maxim of all people being treated equally is true enough in the workplace in that all employees should be managed with even-handedness, without favouritism, but that doesn’t mean they should all be treated the same. The key to managing employees effectively is to recognise, utilise and fulfil their many different personalities, abilities, skills, opinions, strengths, weaknesses and wants.
By recognising behavioural differences you will gain a better understanding of your staff and also the effect you have on them. It is important to take the time and effort to understand their needs and try to fulfil them.
Just as in everyday life we alter our behaviour according to our surroundings and the people we are with, managers need to demonstrate their flexible managing skills by treating each of their employees according to their individual characteristics. Whereas one person might need regular advice and reassurance that they are doing a good job, another might like to left alone to get on with their work independently.
Managers are people managers after all, not dictators. As much as they command and make the big decisions, they are also there to coach, advise and facilitate, in order to help staff keep productive and satisfied in their work.
Managing the Good Work of StaffHowever in being quick to criticise and reprimand employee error and slow to award praise, many managers are actually more reminiscent of dictators. Simply by dictating to people what they have to do might well get the job done but there’s no incentive to do it well. Employees are not machines who perform the same job over and over again to exactly same standard; if their efforts are not acknowledged then their performance gets steadily worse. The more modern and progressive workplaces encourage their staff with goal and award schemes.
Managing TimeIf managers are half organisers and decision makers and half coaches, then they need to divide their time accordingly otherwise one half of their role will suffer. Good communication with employees inevitably suffers when managers fail to spend enough time with their workers. An employee might be struggling with a work issue and needs their manager’s advice but can’t get a hold of them because of their busy meeting schedule. Leadership is about setting a good example, and you can’t do that if you’re not there.
Managers need to make sure that a sufficient proportion of their daily schedule is reserved for their staff, whether it’s in team meetings or just by being in the office ready to help with any problems. Every member of the team should know when they can get a hold of their boss.