Certain behaviours can make a manager ineffective and hinder their ability to lead their team successfully. The solution: self-auditing.

In our last article, we unpacked how the evolution of remote management has urged leaders to go above and beyond their predecessors. Here, we discuss how you can master the art of self-auditing, ensuring you’re delivering on the vital aspects of what makes a top manager.

It’s been well documented that today’s managers are facing more pressures – both internal and external – than ever, and unfortunately, these pressures are having a detrimental impact on Australian businesses.

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report, 67 per cent of employees are disengaged. Of these, 44 per cent report having experienced significant stress on a daily basis, and just over half (51 per cent) are actively seeking new job opportunities.

When asked what would improve this level of disengagement, the majority (41 per cent) said higher team engagement or culture improvements.

The problem appears to lie within leadership, with the research showing 70 per cent of team engagement can be attributable to the manager of said team.

So, where are today’s leaders going wrong?

A post-COVID-19 world has thrown up unique challenges – some of which revolve around how a manager ought to conduct themselves in the workplace.

The rise of flexible working has increased micromanagement in some organisations, creating an environment of distrust, which has consequently led to demotivation and reduced productivity.

On the other side of the coin, some managers are ineffective communicators, leading to misunderstandings, decreased engagement, and a lack of clarity regarding goals and expectations.

Some other key behaviours today’s managers should avoid include: ignoring employee wellbeing and performance feedback, not embracing technology, favouritism, displaying a lack of recognition, and exhibiting poor time management.

Not encouraging collaboration and ignoring work/life balance is also detrimental to managers, as is not addressing conflicts nor investing properly in professional development among staff.

The solution

Managers need to continuously evaluate their performance to ensure they are effectively leading and supporting their teams. A good way to do this is by conducting a self-audit.

Self-auditing is a valuable practice that allows managers to assess their strengths, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments.

Below are 12 steps managers can take to master self-auditing:

1. Set clear goals and expectations

Start by defining clear goals and expectations for yourself as a manager. What outcomes do you want to achieve in leading your team? What behaviours and actions do you believe are essential for successful leadership in a hybrid or remote work environment?

2. Collect feedback

Gather feedback from your team members regularly. You can conduct anonymous surveys, one-on-one meetings, or utilise 360-degree feedback to gain insights into your leadership effectiveness.

3. Assess communication

Evaluate how effectively you communicate with your team. Are your messages clear and concise? Do you ensure that everyone is well informed about important updates and changes? Consider using various communication channels and styles to reach different team members.

4. Review performance metrics

Examine performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) of your team. Are they meeting the set targets and goals? If not, identify any patterns or areas where you might need to provide additional support or resources.

5. Analyse employee engagement

Assess the level of employee engagement within your team. Engaged employees tend to be more motivated, productive, and committed to the organisation’s goals. Look for signs of disengagement and explore ways to boost team morale.

6. Evaluate team collaboration

Examine how well your team collaborates and works together in a hybrid or remote set-up. Are there any communication gaps or conflicts hindering teamwork? Encourage open dialogue and create opportunities for virtual collaboration.

7. Reflect on decision making

Consider your decision-making processes. Do you involve the team in decision making when appropriate? Do you consider your decisions’ impact on both office-based and remote team members?

8. Review time management

Assess how you manage your time as a manager. Are you prioritising tasks effectively? Do you allocate time for both strategic planning and supporting your team’s day-to-day needs?

9. Examine employee wellbeing

Evaluate how you promote employee wellbeing and work/life balance. Do you proactively address burnout and stress? Encourage employees to share their concerns and know what support you can offer, e.g., mentoring and employee assistance programs, when needed.

10. Measure employee development

Look at how you support your team members’ professional growth and development. Are you providing opportunities for skill enhancement and career advancement?

11. Assess inclusivity

Evaluate how inclusive your leadership is in accommodating the needs of both office-based and remote employees. Are you creating a sense of belonging for everyone on the team?

12. Monitor results and adapt

Monitor the impact of changes or improvements you implement based on your self-audit. Regularly assess the results and be willing to adapt your approach if necessary.

By consistently assessing their performance and making adjustments, managers can ensure they are delivering what they ought to be delivering, leading to a more effective and successful team in the post-COVID-19 work environment.

If you want to learn more about how to be a better manager in a post-COVID-19 world, get in touch with our team today.

Article originally published on HR Leader, August 2023.