But there are some key times when managers need to go above and beyond the norm. It doesn’t mean that you need to be a friend or a shoulder to cry on, but it does mean providing employees with what they need and being flexible. Your employees will thank you for being the kind of leader they can count on.
One of the biggest concerns for employees across the board is work-life balance. That’s exacerbated when they have a major issue, like a family member with a serious illness. They simply need time to take care of themselves and their loved ones.
This is when managers have to step up. Limit work responsibilities as much as possible. Let them take personal days or work from home. This is something employees will really value. In fact, according to one survey, 81% of employees said that having a dependable boss is crucial. Your support in a time of need won’t be forgotten.
One of the more difficult aspects of management is negotiating workplace conflicts. Some managers avoid conflict completely, but this isn’t a good strategy. A strong manager has leadership qualities that involve mediating and resolving problems.
Remember to stay calm and to set aside time to work with the two parties. Don’t play the blame game — it’s your goal to ensure that both employees leave mediation happy with the results. Therefore, you’ll need to help them find a middle ground through negotiation. You can reach this point by asking good questions and listening to both sides.
One of the times employees feel most vulnerable is during performance reviews. One way to minimize the impact is to provide consistent feedback. This will make it a less formal event and put the employee at ease.
You should also listen to what employees have to say. Approach it like a conversation. Our report The Truth Behind Performance Reviews found that one of employees’ top complaints was that the review process was too much of a one-way conversation. Focus on what employees have done well and how they can improve in the future. When you deliver criticism, try to do so in the most objective and fair way possible.
Let’s take an example. An employee has been working under the assumption that their manager is satisfied with their work. The board of directors calls a meeting and roundly criticizes the employee, saying that everything they’re doing is wrong. Meanwhile, the manager just sits there quietly, never defending the employee and letting them get hung out to dry by the board.
You can bet that employee has lost all respect for their boss. Don’t be surprised to see them on LinkedIn the next day, looking for a new job.
Your role as a manager changes when employees need support. Make sure that you’re there when they need you to be.