The Do's and Don'ts of Manager Effectiveness

Quantum Workplace collects data from millions of employees annually to help organizations better understand how to improve their workplace. One key category on our employee engagement surveys that gets the most attention from clients is manager effectiveness.

There's a reason the phrase, "employees quit managers, not jobs," has gained such traction. The effectiveness of managers has an extremely strong impact on employee engagement. Our research shows that managers affect employee engagement more than anything else in the workplace.


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Here are a few of the most common reasons why managers are either loved or loathed.


Don't be a micro-manager.


We hear this word a LOT when when sifting through employee survey comments about manager effectiveness. No employee wants to feel like they've always got someone monitoring his or her every move. Most employees are actually more productive and engaged when they are given autonomy in their work. It's possible to be supportive and offer constructive feedback on performance without being over-bearing, invasive, and nit-picky.

Sample comment: "It’s like working for the GESTAPO." 


Don't be selfish.


Selfishness is a commonly cited issue employees have with managers. It's no surprise that employees strive to feel valued. If a manager seems to only be out for themselves, you can bet that employees will NOT be motivated to be team players themselves. Managers are tasked with leading a team, and it's important that managers step up to the plate and go to bat for those they work with. Employees will be far more inclined to step up performance when they feel like they're working with people who look out for their best interest.
Sample comment: "It's all about money and numbers here. People aren’t the most important thing anymore." 


Don't be dishonest.


If you're lying to your employees, then you're probably lying to a whole bunch of other important people, too. Bottom line is that when you lie, people will know it, and it's very difficult to earn that trust back. Employees will work harder and smarter for people they can trust and respect.

Sample comment: "My manager lies to employees and customers without conscience. The only reason anyone would follow him is because they are afraid to get fired."


Don't be lazy.


Laziness begets laziness. If you want a team that loafs around and waits for success to come knocking, go ahead and kick your feet up and doze off in your office. If you'd prefer that your employees take initiative, put quality effort into their work, and perform at max capacity, then bring some energy to the table and set a good example. If you don't care about the work, then why should they?
Sample comment: "It’s not what you do, it’s what people think you do. Just take credit for other people’s work." 



Be humble.


Employees like to know that their managers are human, that they make mistakes and fail from time to time. The hard part is admitting fault and taking ownership of your mistakes.

Letting your employees know that you messed up or that you were wrong about something doesn't make you a bad manager. In fact, your imperfections and humility will make you more likeable and more relatable. Furthermore, being a manager doesn't mean you have to know everything. It's okay to just say, "I don't know," from time to time and be open to having your team members enlighten and inform you about things.


Be encouraging.


As a manager, you are your team's biggest cheerleader. Don't assume that employees, even high performers, know that they're doing a great job. Find ways to nudge them every so often and thank them for good work, let them know they are appreciated, and that they are a valuable part of the team.

Sample comment:"I have received more positive feedback and recognition here than anywhere else in my life. My personal confidence level has gone up considerably. I love it here!" 


Be caring.


You don't have to be best friends with every employee just to show that you care. Simple inquiries about how things are going or an open-door policy to discuss employees' obstacles, goals, and other topics is a great way to affirm that you genuinely care about them. Quantum Workplace recommends using our GOOD worksheet as a starting point to have meaningful discussions with employees.
Sample comment:"Senior management talks with us to find out what motivates us to strive for company goals. They use those means of motivation to show that they really care about their employees." 


Be confident.


Whether you realize it or not, your actions, demeanor, and behaviors can be very contagious to the employees that look up to you. If you seem uncertain, worried, or anxious about things, your team will likely follow suit. Even during hard times or tense moments, it's important that the leaders of an organization stand tall and instill a sense of security and confidence in employees.
Sample comment:"Employees need to feel confident in both the organization’s future and their personal future within the organization. It creates a sense of security. It creates trust. It creates solidarity in moving toward common goals."



Now you know what employees think about their managers, both good and bad. These are but a few of the 15 skills we've identified as things that create strong leaders - download our free ebook to read the rest!

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Published November 17, 2017 | Written By Natalie Wickham