Human resources professionals are in the communication business, when it comes down to it. Like other managers, a big part of the job is sharing information with their staff, providing guidance, and listening to their input and concerns. Sadly, that’s an area where many of us fall short. According to Fast Company, a whopping 70% of managers feel uncomfortable communicating with their workers. If company leaders are shying away from their basic management duties, your organization is in trouble.
Here’s the bottom line. If managers are too uneasy around their people to provide direction, share feedback, offer up praise for a job well done, or discipline when things go wrong, your company will be left at a standstill. Efficiency and productivity will fall, which means money out the window. It might be that some managers should be shuffled to other, non-management positions. Thankfully, others can be elevated to better communication skills with training, practice, and encouragement.
Before the hire
HR managers can help the situation by working to spot certain qualities when filling management positions. It takes a certain skill set to be a leader—the ability to work with different kinds of people, take decisive action, negotiate compromises when necessary, and to handle both stellar performance and problem areas with tact as well as clarity. Look for those signs when hiring someone from the outside, and watch current employees for such traits when considering them for promotion.
Training and mentoring
Because not everyone arrives at a company ready to lead and manage right out of the box, preparation training can help. This can take on a couple of forms. You could put them in “trial” leadership duties (i.e. letting them head up your company’s activities committee) before officially promoting them. Or, you could provide them with more formal training, like professional workshops or a company-wide mentoring program.
Manage your managers
Just like any other employee, a manager can benefit from direction, guidance and accountability. Check in with them to see how they feel they’re doing—and with the people that work under them, to get a feel for the environment they’re creating. If the manager is struggling to lead their department, communicate with their staff, and create a positive work environment in their area, they might benefit from a performance improvement plan.
Nobody ever said being a manager was easy. That position of responsibility sometimes comes with uncomfortable duties. The best managers will embrace difficult conversations because they’re aware those talks are necessary—for the good of the employee, the department and the company as a whole. Contact Human Elements; we can help you bring the best out of your managers, and make them the best leaders and communicators they can be.