A YouGov survey of over 2,000 British employees found that 80% of employees have experienced what they consider poor management or a poor manager at least once during their career.

Among those who have been affected by poor management or a poor manager, 73% have thought about leaving their job, with 55% having actually quit because of it.

Some of the things the respondents listed as poor management problems included bullying, micromanagement, lack of people management skills, failing to offer recognition and feedback and failing to communicate effectively. Some also said their manager had a complete disregard or lack of awareness of issues surrounding mental health in the workplace.

If the survey results are anything to go by, it suggests many managers in this country simply don't have the skills or aren't getting the training they need to take care of their staff effectively.

"While managers are commonly trained in company policy and may understand organisational processes and procedures like the back of their hand, most don't possess the people skills required to handle the human aspect of management and receive no training for this, which can have damaging and long-lasting repercussions when it comes to employee engagement, talent retention and wellbeing," explains MHR Service Development Director Julie Lock.

Equipping managers with the right skills

Being a good people manager requires the right expertise. But if you weren't born with a natural people management skillset, the good news is you can find out how to understand, develop and motivate your team, recruit – and retain – the right staff, as well as cope with challenging management situations.

Here are a few ways to boost your people management skills right now:

Know your team's strengths

Taking the time to spot the strengths, abilities and talents of individual employees will be time well spent.

Try asking each of your workers what they think their strengths are and what kind of role they think they would excel in. Your team and its performance will be stronger – and more fulfilled – if the right people are given the right responsibilities. If you discover there are any gaps in your team's knowledge or experience, try supporting them by organising training sessions, so that nobody feels left behind.

Be a good listener

Effective communication isn't just about what you say or how you say it. You have to be able to listen effectively too. In fact, some might say that listening is a far more valuable people management skill than talking.

Try not to fall into the trap of passive listening – for example, listening to your employees while at the same time checking your emails or reading other work materials. Passive listening makes people feel undervalued, because they feel they don't deserve your full attention. Active listening, on the other hand, means letting your team members speak without interruption and thinking carefully about what you should say when they've finished.

Try to make sure there aren't any distractions and focus purely on what they're saying. And if you're not clear on what they're trying to say, ask questions rather than rushing to the wrong conclusion.

Find out more by reading our article Are you a good listener?

Trust your team

Micromanagment is never a good way to get the best out of your skilled employees.

Nobody appreciates a manager who's constantly checking on their progress or who they feel doesn't trust them to do their job or make their own decisions. Managers who trust their workers, on the other hand, are far more likely to be rewarded with better performance and results.

Giving your team members the freedom to handle tasks in their own way, to come up with their own solutions to the challenges they face and to make important decisions can boost their confidence no end. And more confidence means they'll be better equipped to reach their potential – which isn't just good for them but for you, their manager, too.

Give credit where it's due

One of the essential skills of a good people manager is the ability to give praise when a good job has been done.

If this doesn't come naturally try to learn how to show your workers your appreciation for their efforts, as this can not only boost their confidence but encourages loyalty and better performance too. But don't just show your gratitude to those workers who tend to achieve the best results – try to make sure you praise each of your team members for their contribution.

Look after your team

Part of managing a team effectively includes the ability to take each member's feelings, needs, values and personality into consideration.

Try to show all your employees that you're always available if they have a problem or need someone to talk to. If they know you're happy for them to ask for your help and advice, it could help make them feel more confident and secure. Encourage them to talk to other team members who you feel may be helpful too, as you want to give the impression you're not the only person who can give them answers.

How CABA can help

If you're an ICAEW member, ACA student, ICAEW staff member or are a member of their families, our free career development support can help you achieve your goals.

We also offer a range of free personal and professional development courses that run at locations across the UK. Leading a resilient team is one of the courses we offer that can be helpful if you're a manager leading a team. It shows not only how you can build better resilience for yourself but also for your team, helping to boost their wellbeing and improve their performance.

For more information about our career development support or our UK courses, call us on +44 (0) 1788 556 366, email enquiries@caba.org.uk or chat to us online.

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