This is a guest blog by Alastair MacRea, Director of Alastair MacRae Training I mentioned in last month’s blog that I live in the village of Ecton. I love it. It is such a friendly place with a very active social scene. I’m on the committee of the village hall (in village life there are always committees) and we recently had our Annual General Meeting. At a village meeting people are there because they want to participate. They want to show support for the committee or make suggestions for improvements or perhaps volunteer to be more deeply involved. A business meeting can be a very different affair.
We can but hope that this summer turns out to be long, hot and sunny, but with that comes the risk that some employees may want to take advantage of the good weather deciding that work is not their top priority. So what can employers do?
An employer could consider a temporary change to working hours so that parents can deal with childcare demands. There is no obligation to respond to such a request and when considering this an employer should adopt a consistent approach to avoid discrimination. There should be a clear arrangement communicated in writing. When considering a request the impact on colleagues should be considered.
Another option could be time off for dependents where employees have the right to take a reasonable amount of time off to deal with unexpected emergencies. The definition of dependants can include children, their spouse/civil partner, parents, and even someone else living in his or her household, but not lodgers. Employees can take time off where it is necessary to provide assistance themselves or arrange for care if their dependants fall ill, give birth or are injured or assaulted. They can also take time off where it is necessary to deal with unexpected breakdown of arrangements for the care of a dependant.
If an employee falls ill on their holiday then provided they can show proof in the form of a fit note then they should be paid sick pay rather than holiday pay and their statutory holiday entitlement should be re-instated.
Having clear procedures and policies in place is key to managing staff during the summer period as any other time of the year.
Good managers are vital to the success of any organisation through motivating their staff to work hard therefore increasing profits, but they have a tough life being wedged between the leadership and employee layers of an organisation trying to please everyone.
Good managers inspire the workforce but bad managers can increase costs through their detrimental behaviour. I am sure everyone can clearly remember and describe a bad manager they have had in their working lives, so the following list may ring true with a compilation of the least favourite management characteristics that can be sometimes be displayed.
Lack of performance
Most managers are promoted because they are skilled at what they do, however, a promotion to the next level might be one step too far. If they haven’t been provided with a structured induction or a training programme to take them to the next level things could be disasterous. Management development programmes can help managers develop in an all round way and that includes learning how to manage their staff well.
Communication within a team or department is vital to ensure the wheels run smoothly. Although we are animals that communicate to one another on a daily basis, too often in organisations communication breaks down. A manager is key to how communication works within a team, but often this does not happen because the manager may be too wrapped up with other things. Implementing simple communication methods such as team meetings and/or a newsletter can help improve matters along with manager communication training.
Undermining the team/staff
Everyone wants to feel valued and needed, but if we are undermined by a manager that makes us feel demotivated which can have a knock on effect with productivity. Being undermined can also be a symptom of bullying and harassment which if linked to a protective characteristic within the Equality Act can be discriminatory. Some managers get carried away with being in charge and consumed by power because they have been promoted. They don’t listen to or involve their staff, bark out orders and push people around. Managers need to learn the art of constructive feedback that should be used only where appropriate.
Poor people skills
Too often bad managers don’t know how to manage their team. If good HR skills are not inherent then managers need to be trained in the art of HR management. Managers need to be aware of the people they manage which starts with good recruitment skills followed by strong incentivisation of performance.
Not being accountable
Bad managers blame others for their failings particularly their team and take no responsibility if things go wrong. Bad managers take the credit for the team effort without recognising the efforts of others. Good managers share the fall out when things go wrong and acknowledge great team effort.
Being taken up with too many low value urgent tasks can create a lack of focus for a manager. Managers should carry out the requirements of the organisation’s vision through their own objectives. Poor focus will cause managers to fail. Managers who focus on change and innovation keep an organisation fresh and dynamic contributing to the bottom line.
Poor delegation skills
Poor delegation creates stress and eats into precious time. Managers need to be able to let go of tasks and have trust in those to whom they give those tasks to without worrying. Their job is not to carry out but to facilitate and to create. Being able to delegate ensures that tasks are completed on time and encourages involvement of the team to the shared goal.
The social styles model is a useful tool that can help interaction in the workplace. Each style is defined by a particular pattern of behaviour. If each of us understands the style that governs our behaviour and how we interact with other styles, we can then consider changing our behaviour to better interact with others. Conflict arises where there is a failure to understand the power of social styles.
The model is made up of four styles – driver, expressive, amiable and analytical.
The features of the driver style include:
Priority is important – getting things done
Measure success in tangible results
Achieve their goals through shaping their world
Rely on control and dominance
Independent and strong willed
Prominent celebrities with this style could include Alan Sugar, Gordon Ramsay and Margaret Thatcher
To influence a driver you must use a fast decisive speaking style, be assertive, well briefed, succinct, professional and business like. You have to stick to the facts focussing on the bottom line. It is good to push for a decision on the spot.
The features of the expressive style include:
Measure personal status by acknowledgement and recognition from others
Place emphasis on relationships
Seek person to person relationships
Like to be centre of attention
Enthusiastic and optimistic
Prominent celebrities with this style could include Davina McCall, Richard Branson and Fiona McCall.
To influence an expressive you must match their style, be friendly and stimulating, frame proposals that will enhance their status, allow them time to talk and link to your ideas. Ideally you should press for a decision on the spot whilst they are animated.
The features of an amiable style include:
Like to get to know people and build trust
Like to support others by listening and being warm
Steady, agreeable, calm
Want little change
Make decisions after only careful consideration
Prominent celebrities with this style could include Michael Parkinson, Jamie Oliver and Bob Monkhouse.
To influence an amiable you must talk slowly and easily, be warm and likeable, focus on the positive, offer reassurances and guarantees, involve them, get acquainted and build trust.
The features of an analytical style include:
Dislike of change and personal attention
Task is a priority, method and detail are vital
Serious, orderly, persistent and cautious
Set high standards for themselves and others
Prefer to work alone and like organisational structures
Prominent celebrities with this style could include Heston Blumenthal, Patrick Moore and Stephen Hawking.
To influence an analytical you must not be over friendly, be formal, logical and to the point. You should speak slowly and deliberately presenting logically. You should cover all angles to show that you have done your homework and expect questions of how your proposal will work in practice.
In some situations it is good to flex your style to achieve a win win situation. First you need to identify your style. You next need to identify the style of the individual you need to influence, this can be done by monitoring their behaviour. You then need to plan what you will say and how you will act. In practice you may need to monitor how you are doing. When faced with conflict we often revert to our inherent behaviours, but it is really important to focus on the behaviour of the other person to calm things down. If things are not working out and you are not managing the situation well you may need to correct your behaviour.
Conflict in the workplace exists on a daily basis, but understanding social styles may be to reduce this to a great extent.