To the team, the line manager is the single person who will impact most on morale and motivation, so your people management skills are extremely important. Supervisors and line managers – who have usually been promoted due to high performance in the job – can sometimes find the people management aspects of their new role daunting, and may need some help. Even more experienced line managers encounter difficult situations and can need some help at times.
If you are new to the role, find a more experienced manager who you know to be good at people management, and ask if you can ‘buddy’ with them. If you are experienced, remember how alarming it was for you when you took your first line management role - look out for new managers and offer to support them.
There might be a guide, or blueprint, or list of behavioural competencies with descriptors. If not, ask HR which behaviours you should adopt, and which you should avoid.
Engaging managers typically adopt a coaching style with their teams, including coaching poor performers to improve. This style comes naturally to some people, while others will need to learn the techniques. Managers who are known to be good coaches can act as mentors to others who are relatively new to coaching principles.
Some Health Boards use 360 or 180 degree feedback, enabling managers to gain a rounded picture of their performance. An alternative is to use a self-assessment tool – either for your own self-reflection, or if you are feeling brave, for sharing with your own manager and/or your team. Would your team agree with your self-assessment? IES’s research-based27 self-assessment questionnaire for line managers can be accessed as one of the resources.
This is always a difficult thing to do, particularly if the situation does not improve after the coaching stage and there is a need to invoke formal procedures. However, tackling poor performance and behaviour within the team is appreciated by the rest of the team, so is likely to raise engagement levels overall. Many managers will only have to take people through formal disciplinary processes and few times in their lives, so it is very important to ask for support from HR about the policies and procedures to use.
Most people work very hard, and want to do a good job. Giving praise and recognition for a job well done takes very little effort, but is hugely appreciated.