In order to be a good manager, it is important that you provide a positive work environment. A big part of that is ensuring that your team gets their work done while also making it known that you see them as human beings who deserve a supportive work environment to do their best work. You can set quotas and expect your team to meet certain standards, but if you don’t do everything possible to help them succeed, then you aren’t likely to meet the goals you set.
The secret is that there are seven key things that every leader should encourage in their employees. These seven attributes will help your workers to be more productive, confident, and happier when they sit down at their desks every day.
1. Taking Regular Breaks
Yes, your team should be at work on time, and they should work their regularly scheduled hours, but a good leader will never expect them to go through a long day without taking their lunch and scheduled breaks. Although it is important work, tasks in an office environment can be monotonous, and if your team doesn’t take breaks, then they are bound to experience burnout and make unintentional mistakes.
When it comes to breaks during an eight-hour shift, a good rule of thumb is to encourage your team to take a break two hours into their shift, then a lunch around the fourth hour, and the final break with two hours remaining. This is a good schedule because it allows your team to get up, separate themselves from the work, and clear their minds so they can return to work with renewed focus.
Encourage your team to get up and get active during these breaks. The fresh air can do wonders for their spirit, and a daily walk around the block offers many health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health and better weight control. From a mental standpoint, walking can boost creativity and help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. As a leader, you should want your team to be in good spirits, so never prevent your employee from taking their breaks.
2. Open And Honest Communication
As a leader, it is essential that you have an open-door policy and that you encourage your staff to always come to you if they need help or have concerns. If your employees are afraid to come to you, then it means that they aren’t confident in your ability to help them when they need it the most.
Encourage your team to come to you when they make mistakes and also when they have new ideas that could help the company succeed. When they do come to you, be sure to be receptive and provide answers. If you don’t have a solution to their query, then tell them that you will find the answer and make sure that you follow through.
You should also encourage your staff members to communicate with each other so they can work seamlessly as a team and accomplish their daily goals.
3. Working Autonomously
An important thing that every leader should encourage in the staff is the ability to work autonomously or at least as automatically as their job duties allow. When your employees realize that you trust them to do their work properly without constant micromanagement, then they will have more pride in their work. As an added benefit, your job as a manager will also be easier because you won’t be looking at every little detail.
When it comes to encouraging autonomy in your team, ensure that you give them the tools that they need to succeed, including the proper software and the training to perform at a high level without constant supervision. However, while you can provide autonomy, you still need to make expectations for when the employees should come to you for feedback or necessary approvals.
4. Staying Home When Sick
It is not uncommon for employees to come to work even if they are ill because they fear that they will get in trouble or they think they will fall behind on their work if they miss a day.
As a leader, you should never let your team feel that way and instead encourage them to stay home when they are feeling sick. If your employees come to work sick, then they could infect the other people on the team. On top of that, if you allow your employee to stay home, they can rest and improve instead of pushing them to the brink, which could result in additional sick days.
If your employees feel the need to work even if they are sick, then you can at least provide them with the opportunity to work remotely. Another option is to allow them to work a flexible schedule where they sleep in and get the rest that they need and then work later in the day when they feel better. However, if they say they cannot work, then don’t force it.
5. Taking Mental Health Days
Sometimes your employees won’t be physically sick, but they may be emotionally exhausted or stressed. To prepare for such an event, a good leader will offer the option of mental health days.
It is possible for an employee to feel anxious at work, even if you try your best to provide a supportive atmosphere. However, it is important that you do whatever you can to avoid the creation of an unhealthy work environment. An employee that is dealing with mental health conditions like burnout, anxiety, or depression will generally be less productive as time goes on. In addition to falling behind on their duties, they may start to call out of work more often, or they may stop coming together. If left unchecked, you could see higher employee turnover, and that is not good for business.
To remedy this issue, a good leader will provide and encourage their employees to take mental health days. This would be a paid day off where the worker can stay home and get the rest or mental health help that they need so they can return to the office feeling refreshed. Just the fact that you offer the opportunity for your team to take mental health days will show them that you care about them as people and not just cogs in the machine.
6. Having A Proper Work-Life Balance
Another way to ensure that your employees don’t experience burnout or mental health issues is to provide them with a proper work-life balance. Expect your employees to work 40 hours a week, but don’t push them past their limits, or they may eventually make work less of a priority. The point is that all of us have a life outside of work with family and friends that make us happy, and experiencing that happiness is essential for our overall wellness.
Employers should not push their employees to work past their normal working hours. Instead, they should be able to leave at the same time every day so they can spend that personal time doing things they enjoy.
Sometimes, your employees may have personal responsibilities outside of work, like caring for a child, and they may ask for a flexible schedule. If they can still get their work done and take off evenings or start later in the day, then consider allowing that adjustment. Your employee will be happy that they can help their family. They will also be grateful that you gave them the opportunity, and they will show their appreciation through their work.
7. Enjoying Themselves At Work
Finally, a good leader will encourage their employees to enjoy themselves at work. That doesn’t mean that your team should be able to dodge their responsibilities, but instead, allow them to mix in some pleasure throughout the day within reason. That might mean that you allow them to talk to one another while they complete their tasks, or you could host a team-building activity outside at the park.
If you have a remote team, then you can also allow some fun at work by having a weekly meeting where everyone gets on video and plays a game or talks about their weekend. This is a great way to blow off some steam and reconnect with their teammates.
In the end, encouraging these behaviors and policy changes can only help your company to thrive as the years go on. Enact the seven topics described here, and your employees will be much happier and more productive.