Equipping Managers to Manage Well
Line managers are the human point of connection between employers and their people. This is where transparent communication and dialogue can take place on a regular basis. As we know from our experience in emotional analytics, everything from effective onboarding to successfully retaining and developing talent is rooted in company culture and employee wellbeing. It all comes down to connection and communication – knowing, understanding, and including your employees in dialogue and decision-making.
And – whether they realise it or not – it’s your line managers who are largely responsible for setting this tone. It’s the managers who will ultimately make your employees feel seen and heard, or not! But if they are going to manage well, tune into the people within their teams, ensure that their voices are being heard and their needs are being met, these managers must also be in a healthy place when it comes to their work. It’s the employer’s responsibility to make sure that managers know what’s expected of them (beyond simply getting projects over the line or hitting targets) and that they are trained, equipped and supported to do this well.
1. Training & Equipping Line Managers
Line managers can play a key role in understanding the people within their teams and how they’re feeling. This in turn makes it easier for them to identify an employee’s particular strengths and think about how these can be further developed, as well as recognising areas where they need more support or professional development in order to perform well.
We know how important employee wellbeing is to performance and retention. But it’s difficult for line managers to identify the warning signs among their teams, and to take the necessary actions, unless they have had proper wellbeing training.
This is why, at Inpulse, we offer two free coaching sessions for line managers, to help them to interpret and act on the results from employee surveys. We include dedicated Manager Actions within your company-wide survey in order to equip managers with meaningful data that they can act on. Managers should be closely involved in the development and implementation of wellbeing strategies, based on this data, so that they can take ownership of wellbeing within their teams.
2. Looking After Your Line Managers
Line managers are not in a position to nurture wellbeing and a positive culture within their teams if they themselves are struggling with stress, anxiety or frustration. Negativity or poor wellbeing at the manager level can’t fail to spread to their teams, impacting culture, engagement, motivation and performance. It’s important to use pulse surveys to check in on the emotional wellbeing of your line managers specifically, and to make sure that they feel supported in their roles.
Communication, honesty and transparency are key in your interactions with your managers, and be sure to talk openly about mental health and wellbeing. If you make this a priority, they will too.
Finally, one of the most sure-fire ways to improve and protect the wellbeing of your managers is to enable and promote a healthy work-life balance. Encourage hobbies, the sharing of interests, and flexibility around family and other commitments. Be careful not to reward productivity and tangible outcomes at the expense of a healthy balance. This is another way in which managers can lead by example, giving their teams permission to switch off and do the things that refresh them.
Managing Your Managers
Combining anonymous surveys and emotional analytics with the human point of contact that employees have in their line manager is an excellent way to protect and bolster employee wellbeing. Making sure that your line managers understand wellbeing as a priority, and what their role is in terms of engaging, communicating and taking action, is the first step. Giving them the training, tools and resources to fulfil this responsibility is the second. And underpinning it all is the importance of investing in personal wellbeing at the managerial level.
You will see the results in terms of the culture of your teams, your employee turnover, and the levels of engagement, motivation and performance across the organisation. With the right training and support, managers who manage well can make all the difference.