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4 Management Habits for an Engaged Workforce

"People don't quit a job, they quit a bad boss"

While I get this sentiment, and yes, research suggests that this is in the main, I also want to recognise that there are very good managers across all sectors and that people quit their jobs for many reasons other than a bad boss.

In fact I've seen good people leave great bosses because they have been incredibly well developed and seek the next phase in their career, roles that their current organisation have not be able to offer or create.

This is seen as a natural progression and is generally supported by all those involved. When people leave organisations for the right reasons, not only is it good for the individual, but it is also a good reflection on the manager and organisation alike, building a great reputation for having a culture of growth and developing workforce.

So what is it that these great managers do differently to develop their people and create a highly engaged workforce?

1. They Encourage Regular Feedback

Great managers recognise that constructive feedback is at the core of performance management and introduce feedback as part of their management habits. They receive feedback with grace and understand that effective feedback motivates, guides and reinforces good behaviours and habits, whilst providing the opportunity to learn from failures and reduce or stop ineffective behaviours or habits from negatively impacting performance and culture.

When making feedback a conscious choice it demonstrates that managers are committed to the teams personal development and are taking steps in creating an environment for people to grow and thrive. Whilst both giving and receiving feedback can be a daunting experience, great managers give encouragement and praise where it is due and entrench feedback opportunities into every day working life.

2. They Listen to Understand

Communicating is more than just talking, in fact, great managers use a combination of listening and questioning (active listening) first to understand, this then helps them to formulate an appropriate and considered response. Through active listening, great managers are able to develop a stronger understanding and enhanced relationship with their team members, both on an intellectual and emotional level.

When active listening is introduced as a daily habit, and without judgement, it creates an environment for mutual trust, trust that people can speak up, that people are heard and understood, and which allows for workplace challenges to be addressed before they become problems.

3. They Develop a Deeper Level of Self-Awareness

"It is wisdom to know others; it is enlightenment to know one's self". Lao-Tzu, Chinese Philosopher.

According to researchers Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund, self-awareness is the ability to look inward, to think deeply about your own behaviour and how it aligns with your beliefs and values.

Having consideration for other people's feelings, taking responsibility and accountability for their own mistakes, being aware of one's actions and emotions towards others are all just some of the traits displayed by managers that have developed a deeper level of self-awareness.

Great managers become more effective when being consciously aware of their internal state becomes part of their daily a habit and behaviour. They become more aware of their strengths and how these can be effectively deployed day to day and be used to mitigate or offset their areas of weakness. They display humility and levels of vulnerability, acknowledging what they don't know, recognising their limitations and knowing when to ask for help, increasing trust and credibility with their team.

4. They Delegate Effectively

Delegation is an art as much as it is a skill, and great managers understand that the art of delegation provides so much more than just freeing up their time to complete those important tasks. When delegation becomes part of their daily habit and consideration, it begins to empower and enrich all those around them.

Great managers understand that when done correctly, delegating varied tasks helps others to develop new skills and provides them with the ability to take on the things that they themselves may not have time to do, and it prevents them from becoming a single point of failure. When delegating important work it demonstrates their level of trust in that individual or team.

Through delegation, managers are able create opportunities for members of the team to showcase their skills and shine, create a talent pool for promotional opportunities, increase individual and team morale and build a highly engaged workforce.

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