When your employees are under-performing, it is easy to blame them. However, they might not always be at the root of the issue. In fact, in some cases, unproductive work groups are the fault of certain managers or management as a whole. It can sometimes be difficult to identify when problems come from the top down. But this also means that you can solve many of the issues your organisation might be facing by making some adjustments to your management. Here are four signs your managers are affecting your business’s productivity.

1. Unusually High Turnover

A good measure of the company’s culture is your retention rate relative to the industry as a whole. The same measure can be an indicator of a bad manager. One Gallup report found that half of those who quit say they quit to get away from a bad boss. When there is a sudden spike in turnover, that’s a red flag. When top talent suddenly starts jumping ship, you know you have to deal with the managers causing it. We know it is typically an issue with management because managers tend to push the top performers harder. Pushing them to work overtime causes them to burn out and quit. Making promises they don’t keep costs you top talent, too.

You can get an honest assessment of the problem by asking employees for feedback on direct managers and upper management. Encourage open discussions with teams each week, though this obviously won’t work if team members are afraid of the boss. Provide anonymous surveys so that employees don’t have to worry about repercussions for honest feedback.

2. Morale Drops

Employees want to trust and respect their managers. This is essential for relationship building. A breakdown of this relationship directly impacts morale. When morale for a particular work group or department drops, the question isn’t how we can incentivise workers but what happened to cause it. After all, when morale drops, productivity stalls, too.

When you recognise the problem, there are several potential solutions. About a third of employees surveyed said they want more frequent communication. However, the manager must be honest, clear and respectful or else it is counterproductive. About two thirds of employees think they don’t get enough praise. This means that managers remembering to commend good work on a regular basis instead of only being seen criticising people can go a long way to boosting morale. This may be achievable by adjusting your recognition programmes.

When there is steady positive feedback and support, performance should improve. In the opposite situation, performance stalls immediately, and it will start to fall as employees become disengaged

3. Productivity Drops

Good managers inspire and motivate employees while providing everything they need to succeed. This leads to good performance. When there is steady positive feedback and support, performance should improve. In the opposite situation, performance stalls immediately, and it will start to fall as employees become disengaged. This can happen when managers are unavailable, too removed from the front lines, or simply fail to engage with employees.

Your organisation must be monitoring employee performance to know when productivity is dropping. If you have this data, then you can determine which managers need management training. The next step is teaching managers how to develop employees, so that productivity can improve over the long run. Perform regular performance evaluations and track individual performance based on objective goals so that employees know what they’re striving for. Having clear, realistic goals is essential for this to work.

The best solution is to invest in management training. Training programmes like the first line manager training course offered by The BCF Group can help managers learn how to work with front line employees. They will learn how to engage, persuade, educate and train people as required. You’ll improve employee morale and engagement when you send them to management training courses too. Instead of reprimanding a manager who may take it out on the team, you’ve sent them to learn a better skillset. Once their performance improves, so will everyone else’s.

4. Hours Worked are Sky-High

A good neutral metric of management performance is hours worked. While it is acceptable to occasionally push people to work overtime once in a while as deadlines require, consistent overtime – especially unpaid overtime – will lead to burnout and resignation. Some managers push it because they think it improves productivity. In reality, productivity falls once an employee hits 50 hours a week, and after 55 hours, their productivity is as bad as part-timers.

So, if you’re going to push your workers to meet objectives, make sure that they are rewarded for it. Top performing employees are always up to the challenge, as long as they feel like their effort is being valued, so make sure to show your appreciation with instant rewards as soon as you have the chance to.

Learn the warning signs when direct or upper management are the reason productivity and performance is plummeting. Then and only then will you be able to address the issue at the source and start turning your organisation around.

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