Recently, Brewin Dolphin, one of the UK’s leading wealth managers, hosted Pro-manchester’s third Young Professionals’ Round Table session, the focus being on coaching and managing people in the workplace.
Attendees from a wide variety of businesses discussed employee relationships and managing strategies. Lawyers, financiers and business professionals shared anecdotes, examples and perspectives. One of the main topics to emerge was the difficulty in striking a balance between being a friendly and approachable team member, but also an authority figure. Is it possible to be both?
Representatives who had previously struggled with this emphasized the importance of maintaining a boundary between the two. Supporting employees with issues in their personal lives, whilst at work, can be tricky. Most agreed on the importance of taking initial steps to empathize as an individual before the supervisory persona steps forward. The consensus was that managers must be able to deliver advice, with instruction, constructively and with guidance, especially if a task has not been performed satisfactorily.
The group discussed how to manage a variety of different personalities, using caution over when to establish authority. Some representatives shared their experiences of managing individuals who found it difficult to accept criticism. The group debated solutions to this with delegates finding that unsurprisingly, communication is the key. This included asking their staff what level of support and guidance they needed and respecting how some preferred to be managed in different ways. This then opened up the topic of remote working in the digital age and how progress monitoring systems are on the rise. A few spoke about the systems that have been implemented by their companies and the difficulties of maintaining consistency in performance. Other responses from the Round Table members included employees being harder to manage when remote-working as there is a lack of structure and set working hours, often resulting in less work being done, underperformance and therefore gaps in progress on visual systems. This also posed the question of whether the transparency of these systems (entire teams being able to see progress of other colleagues) is a problem.
The group agreed that it is important to address the behavior of underperforming employees close to the event and with face to face interaction, and that employees should first have to prove themselves in order to be trusted with remote working. There was strong emphasis on the importance of setting a precedent of allowing conscientious, self-motivated people to work from home.
Overall, the Round Table group agreed that managers should act as mentors for their teams and help with career progression as best they can.
The unanimous view was that in-work incentives or events organized out of working hours are always invaluable to building and maintaining strong working relationships and good team morale.
So…give a little, and they’ll give back!
Written by Gina Mathieson