Management Skills: What do our staff members really want?


management skillsI guess it’s obvious that one of the key management skills is having the ability to understand what our staff want and (when possible!) then giving them what they want. Why? Well simply because when the staff in our business or organisation get what they want and need (what satisfies them) then they are motivated to perform better. So, what could the managers in your business give their staff that will make their working lives more pleasurable and satisfying? Here are the three ideas I’d like to suggest they try


Management Skills #1: Clarity

I think it’s true to say I could bore for England on the subject of clarity but, I’m sorry, it’s one of those management skills that are absolutely crucial. Why? Because research is still telling us that what our staff want (really, really want) is clarity. So, if staff want more clarity, isn’t it a good idea for managers to give them some?

But what, exactly, do our staff members want clarity on? Here are three areas where clarity makes a significant difference to both staff satisfaction and staff performance:

1. Clarity on job expectations – what the manager considers ‘good performance’ to look like

2. Clarity on why the staff member’s performance is important to the business / organisation – in order to answer the question ‘why am I doing this?’

3. Clarity on how they are performing – honest performance feedback

(Read more about the management skills of clarity in my blog ‘The Secret to Effective Performance Management’)

 Management Skills #2: Honest feedback

‘A Generation Y Perspective on Performance Reviews’ by Kyle Lagunas is one of the best articles I’ve read recently (read about his article and some of my responses here). In the article Kyle talks about honesty. He says Lose the cream filling, and challenge us to succeed. In the workplace, we appreciate honesty, even if it means getting some tough love. Although we might be surprised when a manager tells us we didn’t perform up to par, don’t write us off as complete dolts. Let’s talk about it, figure out where we went wrong, and come up with a game plan with clear, measurable goals.

One of the management skills that many managers struggle with is giving performance feedback. Often they seem to think it’s a management skill that can’t be learnt (you can either do it or you can’t!). In fact there are some simple techniques that managers can learn that makes giving feedback much, much easier and much, much more effective including;

1. Getting clear that there actually is a performance problem (read more here)

2. Focusing on behaviours not characteristics or personality traits (read more here)

3. Using results and consequences to explain the need for improvement (read more here)

In short, it’s far easier for managers to develop the management skills of giving honest feedback if they have access to practical, proven tools and techniques

Management Skills #3: Respect

Is there anyone who doesn’t want to feel respected at work? Who doesn’t want to feel that their opinions matter – that they are noticed and valued? I do (who’d have guessed?) and I’m pretty sure just about everyone else does too. So how do managers show their staff respect? I think it can be really pretty simple – by encouraging them to share their views, insights and opinions and then by demonstrating a real depth of listening to their responses. Not very complicated management skills at all!

What about you?

Understanding your staff and how they operate and are motivated, can go a very long ways in determining the success of any business. Simply put, everyone in management should have some gauge on the pulse of their workforce.  

What do you think staff members want from their manager? What do you want from your manager? What do you want from your staff? I’d love to know!!

Management Skills: Do the managers in your business need help? Do you?

You can find a whole range of resources in my blog, or take a look at my e-books HERE

Or how to access free management training videos HERE

2 Responses to Management Skills: What do our staff members really want?

  1. Flavio Martins says:

    Great point, especially about clarity. I often find that I have a plan going into review time and know what to do, but in the middle of it all I start rambling, and just keep going and going.

    I find reviews much more effective if i stick to me talking points from my notes and let employee do more of the talking with feedback or assisted suggestion brainstorming from me.

  2. joan says:

    Hi Flavio
    Thanks! As I’m sure you know, you are not alone!! Have you seen my blog ‘Performance Appraisal: A quick way to improve your listening skils’ – where I share a neat (and easy) technique for managing the tendency to rambling? Sounds like you’ve got this covered but it’s always useful to have another skill in our toolbox isn’t it?

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