What makes a good manager?
With management being ever-stretched even before the pandemic and management courses running parallel and often additionally to the usual day jobs required in each role, those who are the most productive workers may not automatically make the most effective managers. Whilst that sounds logical, many managers are a product of progression, being awarded promotions into positions of leadership based on the hierarchical system of working their way up the ladder.
A change in perspective
This leads to the question of whether delivery and line management is a conducive model – because if managerial promotions based on merit fail, then the company loses both their best contributor and a new manager. According to the Harvard Business Review, individuals need to expand their capabilities to go from individual skills to those focused on ‘others’, which requires individuals to adapt to a whole new way of working.
Developing leadership-orientated skills is something that HR teams focus on to ensure that managers go from focusing on their own development to taking pride in helping others learn. Giving actionable feedback again comes back to communication skills and broadening the lens from, ‘what do I have to deliver?’ to ‘how can we collectively deliver as a team?’ This change in perspective is a long-term change as each leader learns to present their ideas in an interesting and engaging manner to colleagues to effect change collectively.
In addition to being focused on employee development, there is a renewed focus on the role of an employer in their employees’ mental, physical and financial wellbeing. Whilst line managers are responsible for each employee realising their role in delivering the wider vision of the organisation, employees also raise any issues with their wider welfare directly with their line manager in the first instance. They must feel comfortable in doing so and line managers must feel equipped to respond appropriately. During the pandemic, mental health charity Mind developed a toolkit to support line managers. Employee Assistance Programmes are also consistently offered by employers to provide broader wellbeing support and give line managers the resources to support their teams.
How can HR nurture future managers?