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    What Makes a Good Manager?

    There are many things that make up a good manager. These can include being able to handle difficult employees, managing teams and individuals and understanding working relationship dynamics. Essentially we believe that the key to being a good manager is to focus on your team and each member’s particular needs. It’s only when we appreciate the preciousness and rarity of good workers that we understand just how crucial good management is to talent retention and therefore continuity and success in the workplace. Now, more than ever, it’s important to understand the specific labour market challenges that employers are currently facing.

    For instance, the babyboomer generation is approaching retirement age and as these individuals leave the world of work, they’re taking critical skills with them. Along with this skills shortage, flexible working is becoming more popular, meaning individuals feel less obliged to stay with one employer long-term, if that employer or their line manager isn’t treating them well. Valuable older employees are only likely to stay beyond traditional retirement age - and workers in general will only stick with a company long-term - if they have a good relationship with the management.

    This is where you, as a manager come in. The success with which you understand and cultivate working relationships is vital here. As a manager, avoid making assumptions about your workers and don’t think they’ll be happy to assume things rather than be directly told the truth. Ask your team and each individual team member what’s on their mind regularly, both in group sessions and on a one-to-one basis. Similarly, get in the habit of being open and honest with your team about what’s going on in the organisation.

    This may be all well and good on paper, but the situation becomes a little more complex in the case of a difficult employee. In life, we all come across difficult people, but none seem as challenging so much as the ones we encounter at work, especially if we’re meant to be managing them. However, dealing with difficult employees is only as complicated as we make it. As with all other workers, the key is to communicate with the individual in question. Get to the core of why they’re behaving the way they are and then work with them to resolve whatever the problem or issue is.

    Do this by having one-to-one sessions with the employee, as you would with any other team member. Give them feedback on how you think their behaviour is affecting their performance, the team, yourself and the workplace as a whole. Ask them for feedback on what they’re disillusioned with and what’s triggering their behaviour. Once everything’s out in the open, keep talking with one another and brainstorm ideas for improving the relationship on both sides.

    At the very core of this matter, is the issue of respect. Employees, whether difficult or not, tend to be more productive the more they respect their bosses. However, respect is a two-way street. If you show respect to your employees, they're more likely to respect you. By taking the time as a manager to sit down and communicate with your workers, to really listen to what they want, you are demonstrating a respect for them that will most probably be reciprocated if it is genuine and long-term. Respect the people you manage and you will become a manager worth respecting—because you will have become a good manager.

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