If You Can’t Answer “Yes” to These 8 Questions, Your Manager Needs To Do More To Support Your Career
Managers expect a lot from their employees, but let’s turn it around: what should employees be expecting from their managers?
Whoever manages a team doesn’t just manage their to-do list, targets and professional roles — at the end of the day, they’re dealing with people. And we all come with our own list of demands and needs, both inside and out of work.
It’s time employees were put first. Not out of greed or to be spoiled, but to become more efficient, productive, engaged employees. Here’s how your manager should be supporting your lifestyle and helping you achieve your career goals.
1. Are they offering valuable wellbeing perks?
A lot of times, managers get well-being in the workplace all wrong. Let’s set one thing straight: well-being can never be managed or established in only one place. If you want your employees to feel great at work, take care of them outside of work. Let’s break down what well-being is all about, first.
A healthy meal. Socializing with people. Learning and practicing a new skill, but also getting rest. It all contributes to your well-being, but the key is repetition: one salad isn’t going to make you healthier. One creative team-building exercise isn’t going to strengthen the bond between you and your coworkers. They’re merely bandages covering a bigger problem.
Managers should be looking out for their employees’ well-being consistently, and have a system in place for it. It shouldn’t just happen on a whim when they start noticing the mood in the office is dropping. Take for example the Perkbox employee wellbeing initiatives: they give practical inspiration on how to make personal development, mental and physical health and socializing a vital part of your organization.
2. Do they take personality types into account?
Does your manager take your personality into account when assigning tasks, or do you all just mix and mingle? It can be both draining and extremely challenging to be put into a role that doesn’t fit your personality type. It can even make you feel inadequate.
Managers can create better teams and thus better balance using collaborative hiring to set up efficient teams. Asking employees across the board what type of person and skills they need on the team will make everyone’s workday easier in the end.
3. Do they challenge employees creatively?
Having a healthy work-life balance isn’t just about getting enough rest: it’s also about having a job that is creatively challenging, engaging and makes you feel valued.
But some jobs simply aren’t all that. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make work more engaging — it just requires managers to think a bit outside the box and learn more about creating employee engagement. Rewarding input instead of output, using honest and valuable recognition and challenging employees differently are some of the ways to do so.
4. Do they have regular one-on-ones with all employees?
This is a big one: it’s virtually impossible for any manager to care for their employees’ careers if they don’t actually ask their employees about it.
Managers should have regular check-ins with all employees to find out what their needs are and if they are being challenged too much, or maybe even not enough. This will provide them with the information they need to move forward being a great manager. You can’t manage people you don’t know.
5. Do they provide mental health resources and support?
You could question if we’ve ever not lived in unprecedented times. But regardless of what’s happening around us, we should be looking a lot more at what’s happening inside of us.
The stigma around mental health is — finally — dissolving, but we all need to play our part in that—including managers.
Your manager doesn’t have to play the role of your therapist. What you do need from them is support, like allowing mental health days and understanding the impact of your mental health on your work. Better yet, you deserve a manager who can help you access mental health services if you require them—even if it’s just pointing you in the right direction towards a phone number.
6. Do they allow remote work for roles that really don’t require being in the office?
It’s still a topic of discussion in a lot of companies: should they bring people back to the office — even though their employees have been as productive working from home, and a whole lot happier?
Any manager that mourns the loss of infrastructure over the freedom of their employees, does not have their priorities set straight. That office isn’t going to do any work: your people are. Let them decide where they do it best.
7. Do they encourage breaks?
If your manager sees you eating at your desk and doesn’t bat an eye, you might want to rethink whether you really want to work here.
Breaks have been, for a long time, underrated and not prioritized nearly enough.
First and foremost: you are entitled to them. Is there too much work to be done to take a break, or are there not enough hands on deck or poor planning skills at play?
Recharge, always. Not only will it be easier to do your job when you get back to your desk, you’ll also feel a lot better and less drained at the end of the day, so your time off after work doesn’t turn into an overnight break for the next day. That time is yours to enjoy. This also goes when taking PTO: you should feel encouraged to take the time off you’re entitled to without having to jump through hoops and answer dozens of questions.
8. Do they have clear boundaries?
There’s always someone who will be online and working, but that doesn’t mean you need to respond right away. Your manager should make that crystal clear.
Managers should be putting boundaries on what employees and teammates can expect from one another. It can be as easy as putting up guidelines on how quickly to respond on certain channels, or even not allowing people to send messages outside of their working hours. Some employees need these rules to be able to shut off, and it gives everyone the opportunity to take the break they deserve.