I can to this day recall a Manager who would come into work with a scowl and wouldn’t want to talk to anyone. You could have cut the air with a knife! All the employees on the floor would put their head down and the atmosphere would be strained. It really wasn’t a nice place to be in the mornings. What did I do? Well I told the Manager the effect he was having on the staff but I frequently had to remind him after that!
Don’t you find there are some behaviours at work that can just irritate you beyond belief, as well as set the tone for the day/week?
I personally think those type of people don’t realise what an impact their behaviour has on everyone and how it demotivates and drains people. As a Manager I always made the effort to say hello and goodbye to the teams as I walked through because it is courtesy and it makes the team member feel acknowledged and valued. I also felt that even if I had a rubbish start to my day I needed to put my best face forward and put a smile on. No one has good times constantly but what you don’t want to do is pass the sense of unhappiness or doom to the employee. There are two schools of thoughts on whether you should share your problems with the people you manage but in my view even letting them see a chink in your amour makes you more human and often lets them open up with issues that are affecting them at work. Then you can support them! But there is a limit to what you share and getting it right is quite difficult! Some people struggle opening up and my motto is each to their own. But at the very minimum be approachable and open.
The times I’ve heard employees complaining their Manager never asked them how they were, as soon as they returned from sick absence. Managers are usually really busy people but if you’re there as the Manager when the person comes in or you come out of a meeting and see the person, take a few minutes to ask that person how they are and even more so tell them you missed them. We all want to feel valued and wanted and when your Manager doesn’t seem to care whether you are now okay, well imagine the feelings that the person is having and what that’s doing to their performance.
I can recall having issues with a Manager who never took an interest in me, rarely spoke to me and barely shared anything. I wasn’t the only one who struggled with their style. Reading an article that advocated not appearing needy and waiting for their approach and only sharing the absolute minimum, I took this tactic. I was amazed it made such a difference. Soon the Manager was coming to check I was okay and shared the latest news. I think the experience taught me that sometimes we can seem quite needy and that we need to build our own confidence. From a management perspective it showed me I needed wherever possible to check in with employees daily (wherever possible) and to take an interest in the individual, supporting to build confidence.
Managers and Employers need to get more attuned to reading their employees, by observing body language and behaviour. Often people exhibit different behaviour from their norm when they have issues either outside work or within the workplace. If you can spot those early signs you can quickly put in place a 1-2-1 to check in with the person and offer support. A small business can still provide a list of organisations that the employee could approach for support and it’s worth having a list as a small employer. Here is a link to sign up to receive a list of organisations that the employee can use as support.
Bigger employers usually have their own occupational health support. Also listening to the person will often give clues away or you may hear different language from normal being used. Body language can tell you a lot from avoiding your eyes to lots of sighing (I’d better stop doing that!) to shrugging of shoulders. If you are having regular 1-2-1s then you should be able to pick up on the small clues and tackle the issue before it becomes even bigger. As employees we simply want to feel listened to, understood and valued. Can you honestly say that you do that with your employees?
I am available for an informal chat if you want to discuss how I could support you and your business on 07766010942.
Have a good rest of the week.