Stepping up: management material

Some people are born leaders, but for others it takes a bit of learning on the job. Managing people is never easy. Here’s what you should consider if you want to up your game as a boss.

There may be elements of a job that people don’t like, but if they like their boss, employees are more likely to stay.

And yet despite the importance of putting the right people in charge, according to research from Gallup, 82% of the time, companies aren’t choosing the managerial candidate with the right talent for the job. According to their study, just one in 10 people possess the talent needed to manage others.

The benefits of being a good boss

Being a good boss can have a big impact on your business’s bottom line. Staff retention rates can be improved, productivity can increase and it can also result in improved workplace culture.

Consciously implementing strategies to help you be a good leader can have a monumental effect on your small business.

Consciously implementing strategies to help you be a good leader can have a monumental effect on your small business.

What makes a good manager?

It’s widely accepted in business that a good manager takes the time to get to know each employee’s personality, their needs and personal goals, and also learns something about the employee’s personal life. These bosses get the optimal performance out of their staff, because they’re able to bring out each employee’s unique abilities.

The 2015 Strengths at Work Survey found that 71% of employees who believe their managers can name their strengths feel engaged and energised by their work.

These employees are the most likely (61%) to leap out of bed in the morning to get to work. And for those organisations who are focused on strengths, 77% of their employees report they are flourishing, engaged and able to make things happen at work.

Invest in your management skills

The Study of Australian Leadership concluded that the Australian management must improve significantly in the next decade if enterprises expect to even meet today’s world best practice standards.

The study also found that too many Australian organisations underinvest in leadership development, and that many workplaces don’t invest in leadership development at all, or invest very little. And those that do invest in leadership development often spend in all the wrong places.

Managers can also take the path of finding a mentor, which can be a hugely valuable tool for managers. Experienced managers who agree to mentor enjoy the reward of sharing knowledge and wisdom accumulated over the years. And it doesn’t have to cost anything but your time to be involved. The Australian Institute of Management offers a complimentary four-month national mentoring program.

While naturally possessing the skills to be a good manager is ideal, this is a skill you can also learn over time.

Mitigate risk

A part of being a good manager also means mitigating material risks to your staff and business, and having the right workplace insurance policies in place.

Of course, there is workers’ compensation, public liability and personal accident, but depending on the nature of your business, your operating history, the industry you operate in and how you manage risk, you may need a specific insurance. Steadfast insurance brokers tailor all kinds of policies to suit any business model, helping to give you peace of mind.

A directors and officers insurance policy (D&O policy) could also be a good move for your small business. This policy is designed with the understanding that managers can make mistakes, and that they could be personally legally liable for them. This is particularly important for managers who are constantly busy, making tough decisions that can have huge ramifications for their business and staff.

A D&O policy is designed to help protect the people running a company (ie: directors and managers) against claims made against them in relation to any actions or decisions they take as part of their job.



Research from Gallup shows that productive staff-manager relationships rest on four foundations. Employees want:

  1. Managers who show care, interest and concern for their staff
  2. To know what is expected from them
  3. A role which fits their abilities
  4. Positive feedback and recognition regularly for work well done.


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