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Five ways your boss can prove they’re a good manager

Being a figure that inspires, motivates and develops employees creates a loyalty that lasts beyond the company’s walls.

Ben Stocken, CEO of leadership development experts West Peak (West Peak)
Ben Stocken, CEO of leadership development experts West Peak (West Peak)

The old saying goes that employees don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses – so how can you be the opposite and inspire team members to stay, and even follow you?

According to recent research by the Chartered Management Institute, one in three people - both managers and workers - have left jobs because of a negative work culture. And half of those who say their bosses are ineffective plan to quit within the next year

The study revealed that managers have a deep impact on employees - including on their motivation, satisfaction, and likelihood of leaving their job. Worryingly, however, 82% of workers entering management positions have not had any formal management and leadership training, adding to the UK’s stock of “accidental managers.”

The report was described by the CMI as “a wake-up call for a low-growth, low-productivity, and badly managed Britain to take management and leadership seriously”.

Becoming a figure that inspires, motivates and develops employees can create a loyalty that lasts beyond the company’s walls, says Ben Stocken, CEO of leadership development experts West Peak.

But being a real leader involves ignoring many of the things that some associate with ‘managing’ others, he tells Yahoo News UK.

Here are five ways bosses should be keeping their employees engaged.

Delegate more

It may sound counterintuitive to some, but the more you delegate, the more likely employees are to trust and respect you.

Most employees know their job better than their boss does, and they’re perfectly capable of getting on with it for 90% of the time, Stocken says. "Don’t be the boss who feels the need to tell everyone what to do for every hour of the day. Stop micromanaging. Hire great people and give them the autonomy and resources to do their jobs well," he advises.

"And go further than that. Delegate more and more responsibilities to your employees. Empowered employees feel valued, trusted and motivated, and are more likely to stay engaged on the task at hand."

Don’t give orders, ask questions

Stocken says that while telling an an employee how to do something gives them a quick fix, it doesn’t help them learn how to solve the problem themselves next time.

"By asking thoughtful questions you can engage your employees' minds, and make them responsible for finding a solution," he says. "Make sure you reward effort, not just results. It’s important to recognise hard work even when the outcome falls short. To quote Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard: It’s possible to do everything right and still lose."

Publicly celebrating successes big and small, and showing genuine appreciation for your team's efforts will help inspire motivation and loyalty.

Professional business consultant explaining strategy to diverse office workers in boardroom. Smart woman ceo talking at morning meeting in conference room. Young assistant bringing coffee to lady boss
Being a good boss involves a lot of listening (Getty)

Be honest with your employees

Being honest with your employees builds trust, and shows that you’re being open with them, Stocken advises.

"Share as much information as possible with your team, even if it feels uncomfortable. Bad news has a nasty habit of leaking out anyway, and it’s better that you’re the source of information, rather than the office gossip.

"Lead by example, and embody the values, work ethic, and behaviours you expect from your team. Employees will be more likely to follow a leader who practises what they preach," he adds.

"And remember that while it’s important to keep your team informed about the company’s vision and goals, it’s equally vital that you are transparent about any challenges the business is facing."

Be aware of what people really want from work

For the younger generations, a sense of purpose is more important than a bigger paycheck, Stocken says.

"Employees will massively value any leader who helps them grow on a career – and even personal – level. Instead of doling out meaningless tasks, become a mentor by showing how they can develop their skills along the way. This might be by encouraging them to think as a boss by looking for ways to carry out tasks more efficiently, or by developing a way to automate parts of the work.

"Invest in development, and prioritise the professional growth of your team members. Encourage employees to work on their own career growth, and push them to look for training programmes and courses that will help them take the next step towards promotion."

Become a servant leader

Being a ‘servant leader’ involves flipping the traditional office hierarchy upside down and letting the employees lead, says Stocken.

"Focus on supporting and enabling your team members to succeed rather than asserting authority for its own sake. In meetings or discussions, don't rush to fill every moment with your voice. Embrace silence as a way of encouraging others to speak up, share their ideas, and contribute to the conversation without feeling overshadowed.

In a group of diverse thinkers, you could find solutions that you would never have considered. You’ll also be amazed at how many ideas are better than yours.

"Recognise when it’s time for the whole team to take a step away from the desk. Productivity isn't just about working long hours – it’s about being in the right space for doing your best work."

Finally, he recommends encouraging your team to take breaks, prioritise self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance. "A well-rested team is more creative, focused and resilient," explains Stocken.

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