Are You Failing Your Managers?

Managers are often the single most important factor in any organisation’s success. They can often make or break an organisation. A leader recognises that it is the middle that needs to be strong in any business and that is what holds it all together. Vision, strategy, and growth plans must be implemented, and it is the mangers who are the ones in charge of this. The whole world has changed rapidly, yet some core principles of management have been the same for the last few decades.

It is the managers that keep the wheels turning, they ensure that tasks are done on time and to a good standard. They may make mistakes but will learn from them and approach new challenges with consistency.

Managing a team has its various challenges – whether they are feeling the pressure to hit sales targets, working out new ways to help their team develop, or handling a situation that has arisen in the workplace. The mix of demands made on managers can be a huge source of pressure.

I have seen this pressure first-hand – and have seen many competent individuals crack under it. If the manager is not supported and equipped to handle this pressure, they will likely be destined to fail. So how can we as leaders ensure that our managers are more likely to succeed when the going gets tough?

The key is their team. A good manager needs a good team around them, but what does that mean? The first thing is how we define this – my go to definition of a team in our business is:

“We are not a team because we work together, we are a team because we make each other better”.

MAA - Launch Event Safaraz Ali, Brad & Kasmin

There are several factors that come into play, including the knowledge, skills, and behaviours of each team member. Outside of this, the relationship with each other and the manager needs to be a strong one with respect, not necessarily friendliness or likeability at the core of it.  When managers fail, it is usually because they don’t have the support of their team. On the other hand, when a team succeeds, so does their manager.

Here are 4 additional things managers can do to help their team – and consequently themselves as well as the business succeed.

Work hard at relationships

A bad manager is a person who simply considers themselves “in charge”. Defaulting to “performance mode” and trying to squeeze as many results out of your team as possible to hit targets is not good for anyone. This is especially true when there is little to no relationship present – putting pressure on your team without any kind of cooperation is likely to actually reduce productivity, rather than increase it.

The key to inspiring the team is to get the managers to invest time in building relationships and ensure we as leaders do that as well. The best investment of your time as a business owner or leader is to work on the people who are working in your business. Find out how they are getting on, what they enjoy doing, and what challenges they think need addressing. You can also spend some time getting to know a bit more about their personal lives. Holding one-on-one sessions to talk over these things and establishing strong relationships means that your employees will be more likely to want to deliver results for you, and can also help you to understand how to help them (and you!) thrive.

Recognise good work

Building recognition for hard work is a great way to transform the workplace culture and get your team to enjoy succeeding under your direction. Remember, good work isn’t always about the big wins – thanking someone for staying behind for an hour, or congratulating new recruits when they complete a small task is a great way to keep morale consistently high. By fostering a team that want to do well and be recognised for their work, a manager will, in turn, be recognised for theirs.

Transparency is key

Your managers are likely to have access to information that is not readily available to other employees. Some managers consider access to this information a privilege but sharing it with the rest of the team can actually have significant benefits.

Whether it’s budget figures or business strategy, being transparent and keeping the rest of the team up to date can have many advantages, including motivating staff to hit targets, or helping to clarify decisions made by management that might otherwise seem questionable or mystifying.

Always be learning

Feedback isn’t just something you give out – it actually goes both ways, and this applies across the business. Get your managers to ask for honest feedback on how you are meeting the needs of your team, and use it to develop your personal leadership style. Get the individuals to consider what kinds of leadership they have admired in the past, but also consider things specific to them and their situation. For example, how they behave under stress, what kind of encouragement your team responds best to, and what weaknesses we all need to improve on.

It’s important to get your team to find the right balance between being yourself and leading in a way that feels natural to them, while also being the kind of leader that your team needs them to be. Learning is the most paramount thing a manager should be doing – once they stop learning and responding to their team’s needs, they’re bound to be left behind.

Great teams thrive under great management, and when people leave a job, they’re often leaving the management and not the business. I think it is extremely important that managers always question themselves on what they can do to be a good leader and help your team to be the best they can be. When managers do not invest enough time and effort into this, not only are they failing you and your team, but they are failing themselves too.

Safaraz Ali, Featured in the Business Influencer Magazine