If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you want to know more about your employees. And that’s great. There are many effective managers who are approachable, efficient, and strong leaders, but knowing about your employees can make you even more productive.
Perhaps you’re on the other side as an employee, and you’re wondering whether you could make a great manager. Or you simply think your manager has a thing or two to learn. Although your manager might not take kindly to you attacking their leadership style, you might be able to respectfully suggest a few improvements to the work environment.
Here are some things many managers don’t know about their employees. If you’re an employee, does your manager fall short on these?
1. More can be done to create a better work environment
If you want to have loyal and motivated employees, then creating a good work environment is extremely important. Chron reports you can start the improvement process by looking for broken or outdated equipment or workstations, meeting with employees, asking for feedback, and encouraging team building.
If you put yourself out there and show your employees that you value their feedback and comfort, you will help foster employee loyalty. Also, work can still be fun even though it needs to be productive. Team lunches or friendly competitions can help employees bond.
Next: How do employees learn?
2. Employees learn in different ways
Depending on how many people you have on your team, you might not be able to meet with each employee to determine how they learn best. However, if you are able to incorporate multiple learning styles — visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc. — into the workplace, your employees will certainly appreciate it.
Try different methods to reach all employees. Use maps, flow charts, and written lists for visual learners. Converse with and question employees who learn from auditory methods. And use role play or encourage note-taking for kinesthetic or tactile learners.
Next: When do employees work best?
3. Employees have productive times
Maximizing productivity is an important step for meeting deadlines and achieving goals at work. And knowing when employees are most productive can help build a more efficient work environment. If you watch your employees (and you can also ask them), you might discover certain people are most productive in the morning while others do better later in the day.
Ways to capitalize on this include altering employee schedules to have them at work during their most productive times or assigning more important projects during specific times. You can also ask your employees to determine their most productive times for you and make changes based on what they learn. According to Accountemps, Tuesday seems to be the most productive day of the week, and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. seems to be the least productive part of a day.
Next: What are your employees actually doing all day?
4. Employees are wasting time at work
Even the best employees occasionally waste time at work, and chances are your employees are no exception. It would be impossible to remove all time-wasting activity at work, but you can certainly cut it down. First, make sure employees can’t access websites unrelated to work. In addition, give your employees enough interesting and challenging things to do. And come down hard on office gossip or relentless chatting. Give employees clear expectations, and stand by them.
5. Some employees are afraid
You’re the boss. And to some employees that’s intimidating, even if you think you’re a nice, approachable person. As the manager, you know the employees who always come to you with concerns, requests, and general chatter. But do you know why the quieter employees keep to themselves? Maybe they really are self-sufficient workers. Or maybe they’re sitting on a problem and too afraid to bring it up.
As the boss, it’s your responsibility to check in with each employee to make sure everything is going smoothly. Don’t skip over the quiet ones because you think they’re problem free. Making sure everyone communicates freely leads to a more productive, comfortable workplace.
Next: Don’t just bring the bad news.
6. Employees want to hear they’re doing a good job
Just like some employees might be quietly sitting on a question or concern, others might be doing amazing work without making a big deal about it. As a manager, if you know an employee has gone above and beyond to deliver on a certain project or task, go above and beyond in your praise. And make sure you recognize consistently good employees, too. They’re the ones most often overlooked because their dependable work ends up becoming expected.
Next: Office gossip gets around.
7. Employees probably know about the elephant in the room
Is your company about to have layoffs? Did a staff member get fired? You might not want your employees to know any information about these scenarios except for what you tell them, but it’s almost guaranteed they’ll know more.
Word gets around in offices large and small — just look at the leaks within the White House. So instead of being extraordinarily vague when announcing bad or uncomfortable news, be straight with your staff. Of course there’s a line between being professional and being totally forthright. But keep whatever information you’re able to tell your staff completely factual instead of trying to construct a better-sounding story. Doing so builds trust with your employees.
Next: This is something employees want most from their boss.
8. Employees want your trust above all
Employees hate when their bosses micromanage them. If you’ve provided your staff members with the proper training and check in periodically, they shouldn’t need you looking over their shoulders every day. That just says to your employees that you don’t trust them.
As a manager, you need to back off and let your employees breathe a little. That alone will foster trust and respect on both sides, creating a more positive and productive work environment.
Additional reporting by Sienna Beard.