Hard work has always been referred to as putting the nose to the wheel, to keep plugging away relentlessly no matter what.
The modern world has changed and the new age worker needs more feedback and direction to be able to function optimally.
We live in a world with increased technology, more safety responsibilities and different workers who require different management to perform at their best.
Here are some alternative management strategies that can help you recognise when a worker might need a kick and when they might need a cuddle.
Making praise a priority
There is no greater human motivator in the modern workplace than praise.
This can be an easy task when dealing with teams that meet goals, beat deadlines and deliver positive outcomes.
But what about individuals? You want them to be happy, because happy workers are more productive workers – 12 percent more productive, to be precise.
It can be a balancing act, though, as publicly praising one employee can make several others disgruntled in a dog-eat-dog world.
This has been highlighted by a study that has shown 40 per cent of managers have never given positive reinforcement.
There are ways around that. You don’t need to stand in front of the team and single out an employee who deserves praise but might receive backlash for it later.
Get to know your workers, what makes them tick, what they do on their weekends, what their life goals are. Praise can start as simple recognition of a marathon completed or recent wedding anniversary.
Then begin to translate this to work-related topics. Learn what your workers want out of their profession, their goals and aspirations. Then you can reward them with the proper training and guidance to help them reach their goals.
Written acknowledgement always works a treat, with a simple email praising a worker usually lifting them for a long period of time.
It is important to remember that how you deliver this praise is vital as well.
There is an old saying in business: “How you deliver a message is just as important as the message itself”.
And a 2008 Harvard Business Review study has proven that workers that receive positive messages that are accompanied by negative signals (eye rolls, monotone voice, gritted teeth etc) will end up making them feel worse about their performance.
So be genuine, deliver praise where praise is due rather than through a veil of frustration just because you feel you should say something nice.
Criticise to be kind
If delivering praise is hard for a manager, delivering criticism is nigh on impossible.
Studies have found that 44 per cent of managers found it stressful and difficult to give negative feedback, while 20 per cent avoid giving it completely.
There are situations where critical remarks need to be made, in scenarios where production, safety or the welfare of other workers become jeopardised.
In the grey areas, though (where managers often shirk the criticism required), the medicine can be delivered with a spoonful of honey.
Positive reinforcement is a proven motivator, with 67 per cent of workers saying that they are fully engaged in their work if they are aware of their strengths.
Any weaknesses should be pointed out with advice on how to improve in that space, while the areas of strength should be mentioned as well so the employee feels valued.
Being present outside of work hours
In 2018, the nine-to-five, Monday to Friday work week where everyone is present in an office is no longer the norm.
Almost 50 per cent of Australian employees work remotely for at least half of the week while more than two-thirds will spend at least one day working away from the office.
Work forces are becoming decentralised, with remote workers, shift workers and rosters that extend beyond the typical work hours.
It is important that management can be reached at all times, through technology and chat programs at the minimum, so that workers have access to seniority if problems arise.
Want to better connect your management team with remote and shift-working staff? Our in-house experts can help optimise your workplace with custom tailored solutions.
– Josh Alston