In what’s now known as ‘the David Brent effect’ a recent survey by Employee Outlook has found that most managers have a highly inflated opinion of their own ability. Not only that, they also have no idea of how bad they are at managing their staff. So if you’re a manager, and you don’t want your team calling you names behind your back, read on to find out how to be a better manager without doing that David Brent special dance.
Managers must make decisions, so if you’re the type of manager who likes to chew on your pencil for weeks and avoid taking responsibility for leadership then you might want to reconsider your approach. Lack of direction and guidance for employee’s leads to a management vacuum which demotivates employees and makes achieving workplace goals very difficult. If your staff are constantly asking you for direction or decisions, then this should be a clear warning sign you’re not doing your job.
Likewise, micro-management can be just as bad as lack of management. “There is no ‘I’ in team” might be a favourite management motto, but if you’re breathing down your team’s neck all the time, then this can have seriously adverse consequences. Give your team clear guidelines and deadlines, but avoid micro-managing. Constantly checking progress and offering endless advice results only in annoying and undermining staff. Check in once a week, but avoid the temptation to take over. Trust your staff and learn to delegate without interference.
Lead By Example
“Let’s take this to the next level” is one of the thousands of terrible ‘management phrases’ designed to motivate and inspire employees. But unless you’re actually walking your talk your words of wisdom will fall on deaf ears. Managers who fail to lead by example and operate using double standards will only foster resentment. Although you should avoid David Brent style over familiarity, do show staff that you’re prepared to muck in when needed at the same time as maintaining authority.
Keeping staff motivated can be a challenge at times, so you’ll also need the tools to incentivise and motivate a lacklustre and disheartened workforce. Encouraging staff to share their fears or concerns without fear of recrimination can do a great deal to set individual team members back on track, and mentoring programmes can build good results by helping your workforce push themselves into new challenges without feeling under pressure to perform and achieve. Team building days, injecting more fun into the office day, and even the introduction of free tea will go a long way. Failing that, introducing performance related bonuses are guaranteed to work.
Staff Welfare Obligations
One memorable scene from The Office involves David Brent abandoning a disabled member of staff on the stairwell during a fire drill. Obviously fire safety checks and training must be carried out, but you must also be prepared to take full responsibility for the health and safety of your workforce in all areas.
Bill Turner is a freelance writer from the south coast. He enjoys walking his 2 Yorkies and spending time with family.