Today’s workforce has more potential than ever before. Employees have access to better technology and are better educated, managers have a deeper understanding of team dynamics, and the competitive desire to achieve more is always part of the game. But those advantages don’t necessarily have the positive effect on a company’s books that you’d expect.

Statistics show that U.K. managers are failing at people management, and it’s costing their firms £84 billion (about $112.4 billion) per year. While this figure sounds alarming, employees who waste a single hour at work every day can cause significant losses. It’s no surprise, then, that research by Capita Workforce Management Solutions found that 32 percent of managers believe they’re not obtaining optimum returns on their workforce’s talents. If every manager in the U.K. managed their staff better, they could easily boost output by billions nationwide.

Your employees have amazing potential and are your business’ most valuable asset. Under capable leadership, they will feel motivated, self-aware and in touch with the company’s vision and mission, spurring innovation. People management relies on a multi-pronged approach to inspire the workforce to work as a team while encouraging personal growth and development.

Here are some tips for easy, valuable additions to your management strategy.

Give Credit Where It’s Due.

Learn to identify individual input, and express congratulations and gratitude for achievements. Showing your employees appreciation goes a long way in cementing their loyalty. It’s a basic courtesy that everyone deserves, and it shows that you recognize each employee’s contribution to the company’s success. Remember to share success with the whole team, even if you highlight individual efforts.

Workers who feel appreciated are motivated to improve. Regular appreciation encourages your employees to take pride in their work. The best thing about giving credit is that it’s free.

Allow Employees Some Freedom.

Micromanaging employees has never been a good approach. There’s nothing worse than a manager who’s constantly looking over his or her employees’ shoulders; it’s the perfect way to alienate employees so they only show up because they need to pay the bills. And micromanaging means more work for you, with no improvement to the bottom line.

No manager wants a workforce of robots who shuffle through the door and wait for payday. Give your employees the freedom to handle tasks in their own way and to come up with organic solutions to the challenges they face. The knowledge that they have some autonomy is always a confidence booster.

Listen.

Employees have opinions and feelings about their place in the organization. One of the most important people management skills is to listen and pick up on good ideas in meetings and brainstorming sessions. By listening, you can find common areas of engagement with your employees. Of course, listening should be followed by execution whenever feasible.

As well as dealing with work-related issues, try to build relationships with your team. Most people want to know their boss cares for them as a human being. It feels good when a manager asks after the well-being of an employee’s family or notices when someone is feeling run down. Keep it about them, and keep it professional; leadership requires a certain distance to be effective.

Trust Employees.

To be a good manager, you have to believe in your team’s abilities and talents. If you don’t, they shouldn’t be on your team. Your job is to be good at delegating so that everybody is doing the tasks that he or she performs the best. Believing in your employees help them believe in themselves. Workers are more likely to do well if they know their boss is rooting for them and trusts them to get the job done.

Learn to Let Go.

The days when employers barked orders at their staff and expected results are long gone. Most of those employees are long gone, too – to companies that appreciate them! Even though your job may mean the world to you, there is a real possibility you can lighten up without the world coming to a standstill. Throwing some fun into the day is a great way to inject life into your team. It creates a positive working environment where information is shared freely, which keeps things moving smoothly.

Be Someone Your Employees Can Count On.

Learn to look after your team. Every great manager navigates the sometimes-murky waters of the business world in a way that earns them their employees’ confidence. Your team expects you to know more about the company and the business than they do. They expect you to manage them but also to consider their feelings, needs, personalities and values.

By showing that you’re there for your employees, you encourage them to ask for help, come to you with problems and trust you. Be fair, be reasonable and be there for your team. Encourage them to communicate with and help each other.

But be careful. Empower, inspire and motivate, but don’t pretend to have all the answers. Be the engine that drives their success, not the solution to their problems.

It’s impossible to get things right all the time, but a little goes a long way on the journey to becoming a great leader. You need to figure out what you’re missing if you want to lift spirits and boost team productivity, which means finding the best resources to hone your people management skills and applying those skills effectively in the workplace.

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