Tag: Leadership

Verbal communication and teamwork also top of list

A new study on skills in the workplace, commissioned by LMS provider Digits, has revealed the most important skills that workers expect from their managers. Of the 2,048 working-age adults polled, 51% of men and 45% of women agreed that leadership skills were the most important skills for managers.

Next on the list was verbal communication and teamwork, at 35%, followed by empathy at 30% and problem-solving at 29%. Written communication was at the bottom of the list at only 8%.

Just 10% of the respondents did not have any specific skill requirements for a manager.

Ranked by popularity, the most important skills needed by managers are:

  • Leadership skills (48%)
  • Verbal communication skills (35%)
  • Teamwork skills (35%)
  • Empathy (30%)
  • Problem-solving skills (29%)
  • A strong work ethic (21%)
  • Good time management (18%)
  • Conflict resolution (15%)
  • Written communication skills (8%)

Leadership skills include a variety of skills, hard and soft, and the term can mean different things to different people.

Bradley Burgoyne, Head of Talent at Digits, believes that the core leadership skills of a manager include:

  • Vision setting
  • Empathy and listening
  • Inclusive leadership
  • Coaching skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Collaboration skills

When analysed by age, the survey results revealed that opinions on managerial attributes differed depending on where people were in their careers, with 56% of people over 55 believing that leadership skills were the most important, compared to only 28% of 16 to 24-year-olds.

Other important attributes across the age groups were:

  • A strong work ethic is important to 25% of 16 to 24 year-olds
  • Verbal communication skills are preferred by 36% of 24 to 34 year-olds and 44% of over-55s
  • Teamwork skills are very important to 36% of those aged 35 to 54 years old

Burgoyne commented: “We’ve got more generations in the workforce today than we’ve ever had. And, each group of workers prefers slightly different managerial styles and leadership qualities.

“Every individual has their own expectations about how they want their managers to lead them, coach them, support them, relate to them, and empower them. Those skills don’t just happen, even the best managers need to receive regular training and development from their employers.”

“The challenge for HR and L&D teams is to ensure that their training strategy is broad enough to cater to all levels of employees in the organisation because, I think, everyone benefits from leadership or management development.

“It’s important that employers actively listen to their workforce and find out where the skills gaps are – what training do employees think they need? What training do employees think their managers need and what leadership qualities do they respond best to? They can then utilise the data to create training courses or a series of engaging development activities in their learning management system, that are really relevant to the people within the organisation rather than something that could, potentially, be seen as just a tick-box exercise.”

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Good management key to staff retention following the Great Resignation

New research from people analytics company, Visier, has revealed that 43% of UK employees admit to having quit their jobs due to bad management. A further 53% are currently seeking new roles due to their current manager.

In the study of 2,100 workers, 85% agree that good management is key to their happiness at work. Four in ten said they stayed in jobs longer than they planned because they had good relationships with their managers.

The majority of employees surveyed believe that flexible working is beneficial for both workers (74%) and businesses (69%). But while staff enjoy flexible hours and remote work,  it is clear that lack of face-time has been damaging for employee-manager relationships. The main contributors to this are:

  • Lack of face-to-face meetings (51%)
  • Increased working from home (44%)
  • An over-reliance on emails (44%)

Only 48% of workers are comfortable discussing their personal lives with their managers, indicating that leaders are struggling to build strong relationships with their teams.

Daniel Mason, VP EMEA of Visier, commented: “The old cliché – people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers – rings true, and the pandemic has made it harder for leaders to develop personal relationships with employees.”

“This isn’t a case of leaders becoming bad managers overnight, but instead, they are making difficult decisions with less information available to them.”

“The move to remote and hybrid working has starved managers of the opportunity to observe and meet with team members. Face-to-face interactions and other natural moments to develop a rapport are fewer, so managers should look to enhance their toolkit with data and insights to better understand and anticipate employee needs.”

When asked to identify the most valuable traits of a good manager, the most popular responses were as follows:

  • Treating people well (47%)
  • Listening to workers (47%)
  • Showing respect to all members of staff (47%)

On the other hand, the attributes of a bad manager were:

  • Failure to listen (49%)
  • Being unapproachable (47%)
  • Treating other members of staff differently (43%)
  • Shouting at the team (42%)

The most important factors for happiness in the workplace were:

  • Enjoying their work (45%)
  • Good pay (39%)
  • Good colleagues (35%)

Further data revealed that:

Sixty-two percent of the respondents felt that they currently had a good manager, and 45% believed that they could do the job better themselves. This group was questioned as to how they would improve, and their responses were:

  • 53% said they understood the concerns of other employees
  • 46% would treat all members of staff with equal respect
  • 36% would make an effort to get to know the people they manage better

Mason continues: “Businesses have spent the past few decades using data and other innovations to improve customer relationships and increase revenues. Many organisations are yet to harness these methods to better understand their most important asset – employees.”

“Every organisation already has a wealth of people data scattered throughout. Modern tools and analytics can find and organise this data to generate people insights to help you better understand and manage talent. When these insights are combined with other types of data from across the organisation, the result can drive more impactful business outcomes and unlock the next wave of growth and success.”

With employers struggling to fill vacancies and retain key talent following the Great Resignation, it’s clear that good management is essential to staff retention.

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Effective handling will determine future business growth

With the constant increase in cost of living and rising taxation, UK citizens are in for a very difficult time. But businesses are also impacted, and business owners may be at risk of forgetting the physical and emotional effect of this cost-of-living crisis on their workforce.

According to Sophie Wade, author of Empathy Works: The Key to Competitive Advantage in the New Era of Work, empathy is critical to assisting business leaders in understanding employees’ situations, adjusting their management styles, and providing them with appropriate support.

Wade provides the following tips for leading through this financial crisis:

  • Employers need to build a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive corporate culture where the workforce feels safe enough to share or reach out for help.
  • Leaders need to be empathetic, actively listen and show care and concern about their employees’ situations.
  • Create flexible workplace policies that help individuals improve their situations, for example, by reducing commuting costs by working from home.
  • Lead by example by embracing and demonstrating the benefits of cost-saving initiatives.
  • Provide benefits that help employees handle challenging circumstances, such as financial management talks and courses.

Sophie Wade, work futurist commented: “The pandemic catalysed significant changes in workplace environments. As leaders – whether at the senior executive level or as a team manager – we had to manage our businesses with a more human-centric orientation. Our corporate cultures have been transitioning from transactional to experiential, elevating trust and empathy as key values, as we recognize the challenges faced by the people we employ or work alongside and their greater emotional needs. While we are finally emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, the new cost of living crisis is having a significant impact on so many aspects of our lives. We are having to reconsider or limit how we light and heat our homes, commute to work and put food on the table with smaller pay checks as our contributions rise.”

“To manage this new crisis, we can learn from the last two years. As managers, we embraced empathy and practiced it with our teams to be more attuned to what they were going through. Now again, taking the same human-centric perspective, we need to listen to employees, understand their situations and needs, and nurture trust-based cultures that create a sense of belonging and community that can support them. We can recognise each person’s different points of view and circumstances as well as understand that some may be embarrassed to admit their financial and emotional struggles. The empathy that we elevated in our cultures and integrated into management practices during the pandemic should now be pervasive, ongoing, and consistent. Every employee should feel there is someone they feel comfortable to turn to, voice their concerns, and seek out the help they need.”

“I know many businesses are adapting to these new conditions. We must think about how our employees are coping as well. After the pandemic, workers are looking for stability not more strain. We must stop to consider what we can do to support our colleagues. Taking a human-centric, thoughtful, and empathetic approach, we can figure out how to improve workplace culture, benefits, and retention, and ensure the sustainable growth potential for our businesses.”

Clearly, leaders learning to empathise with their employees during this financial crisis is essential for ensuring a sustainable future for their businesses.

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