You can tell a lot about a workplace by the conduct of its managers. If you find a job that seems too good to be true, just chat with one of the managers for ten minutes. Get a feel for how they view things like work-life balance, how to reward employees for hard work, and how to address downtime in the office. You might find out a lot about the workplace before you even sit down for an interview.
You’d be surprised at how many awesome jobs out there are sullied by bad managers. On the other hand, you’d also be surprised at how many supposedly-difficult jobs are actually made more enjoyable and rewarding by top-notch upper management. Let’s look for the strong qualities you should seek out in your manager.
Does this manager have respect for their employees’ free time? Does this business want to pay for butts in seats for eight hours, or do they just want the work done correctly and well?
Most modern office jobs don’t require workers to actually be in the office for eight hours a day. When your work is done, it’s done. Why fake looking busy when you’ve already finished your work?
This goes into things like breaks and lunches, too. If a manager constantly expects employees to drop everything to get back to their desk, then the workplace culture may be toxic. A culture of work-obsessed, productivity-focused drones is less truly productive than engaged, happy, and respected workers.
Does this manager expect people to take work home with them? This is even more pervasive in the modern era with people working from home due to the pandemic. Some managers expect employees to be “on” all the time. If your manager expects you to answer work emails hours after your workday ended, this is a red flag of their disregard for your home life.
Well-rested and refreshed employees work much more efficiently than workers who are always expected to be “on”.
Does this manager enjoy punishing misconduct more than rewarding good behavior? If so, you know that they’re likely making the entire workplace’s culture toxic. A proper focus on employee conduct will reward hard work, loyalty, and high-quality performance. When people are motivated by respect and kindness, instead of fear, they perform better.
Managers should also take this advice to heart. You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Why be a tyrant when studies have shown that workers react better to positive reinforcement? Take these words to heart and watch your workplace transform.