There’s a range of blogs, websites and books devoted to effective management and to spend time reading through them could mean you're actually dedicating less time to managng your staff! This article looks at some of the fundamentals you need to think about with regards to managing your staff effectively.

Is there a difference between management and leadership?

The short answer is yes. 

Management is more about operational practices, the day to day co-ordinating, planning and controlling of the business activities. Leadership is about motivating and inspiring the workforce to gain buy-in to the organisations goals and vision.

Some might say that traditionally managers are more focused on the task, on the processes, practices and actions that need to be taken, whereas leaders are more focused on the people that need to make those tasks happen.

The reality is, in a small business management and leadership is often undertaken by the same person and therefore skills in both areas need to be mastered.

Video: Is there a best approach to leadership?

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Your approach to management and in particular leadership should be very context driven and should depend on four things:

  1. The nature or complexity of the task that needs completing
  2. The experience, competence and confidence level of your staff
  3. Your own confidence and experience as a leader
  4. The urgency or time frame in which the task needs to be completed.

It’s therefore more important to be able to adapt your approach than it is to take one specific one and apply it constantly. Watch the following video to find out more.

How can I motivate my staff?

A happy workforce is crucial to the success of your business. Staff who feel valued and respected are more productive and they'll stay working for you for longer. 

Why is staff motivation important?

  • A motivated workforce is a happier workforce.
  • Motivated staff will take more pride in their work.
  • It helps with staff retention. Workers will be less inclined to take unnecessary days off work and will be keen to stay with the firm.
  • It also helps the business to move forward rather than stagnate.

Managers are key to motivating staff. Here are some key points to keeping your staff motivated. 

  • Communicate with your staff
    A simple 'Good morning' or 'Good evening' can have a huge impact. Get into the habit of having regular chats with staff and make yourself accessible - staff like a visible boss, one they feel they can talk to if they require help or have problems.
  • Acknowledge staff when they have done a good job
    Regular feedback and encouragement will go a long way - it makes staff feel positive and that their work is appreciated.
  • Invest in your staff
    Looking after your staff's training and personal development has benefits to both employee and employer. The employee gains new skills and the employer has a member of staff who is better equipped to carry out their job.
  • Treat staff as individuals
    Not all staff are motivated by the same thing; that’s why it’s best to have a range of reward strategies available if possible. For example, offer flexible working hours for home deliveries or picking up children from school. Or introduce a rewards programme where a free meal or vouchers are offered for completing a task or hitting a target.
  • Encourage staff to book their annual leave
    Everyone needs time away to recharge their batteries. Make sure staff are aware of their holiday entitlement and the policy regarding booking time off.
  • Lead by example
    Don't ask staff to do something you wouldn't be prepared to do yourself. If you implement new rules in the workplace, then you should adhere to them yourself. Also bear in mind staff will pick up on the way you communicate with other people in different situations, so make sure you behave in a way you'd like your staff to behave in too.  

Survey: What rewards are best to use?

This vote is not an opinion poll, but a way for you to compare your views with other small business owners. 

  • What do you find most effective in your organisation?

  • What cash based rewards have you found most effective in your organisation?

  • What non-cash based rewards have you found most effective in your organisation?

Next Steps

Go to the ACAS website for their advisory leaflet on managing performance for small firms

This website gives small businesses a summary of the requirements for managing staff performance in the workplace.

Read more

How to retain your staff?

Four in ten (43%) of the 2000 UK workers surveyed said they stayed in their job because they ‘feel valued’, followed by good relationships with colleagues (40%) and feeling as though you make a difference (28%.) Somewhat surprisingly, only a quarter (24%) of respondents highlighted pay as a factor keeping them in their present role, and only 3.5% cent placed importance on an annual bonus. So how can you make sure you hold onto your best staff and don’t lose them to a competitor?

Read more

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