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This blog post was published under the 2010-2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

What good management skills lead to great people survey results

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In last year's people survey the Digital, Channel and Strategy branch got exceptional results in the questions relating to people management:

B09. My manager motivates me to be more effective in my job 95%
B10. My manager is considerate of my life outside work 100%
B11. My manager is open to my ideas 100%
B12. My manager helps me to understand how I contribute to the Department's objectives 95%
B13. Overall, I have confidence in the decisions made by my manager 100%
B14. My manager recognises when I have done my job well 95%
B15. I receive regular feedback on my performance 95%
B16. The feedback I receive helps me to improve my performance 85%
B17. I think that my performance is evaluated fairly 95%
B18. Poor performance is dealt with effectively in my team 80%

We spoke to Rachel Neaman who heads up the branch to find out how her management style helped achieve these amazing results.

Good management behaviours graphicWhat do you think makes a good manager?

I think a good manager celebrates everyone’s unique skills and contribution. Each member of staff has a contribution to make and the more diverse the team the greater the opportunity. I try to empower people to do the best they can in their role. I always make time to talk to and thank my staff because by encouraging them and valuing them for what they have contributed, people want to do well for you.

I also think it’s very important to give clear direction and make sure everyone understands what's expected of them. They should know how their role fits with the broader objectives of the organisation as a whole.

What leadership style do you have?

I think I'm democratic. I’m open and honest with my team and I think I take the time to listen. I understand my team’s strengths and weakness and help them play to their strengths while developing the areas that need more work. This ensures everyone is delivering to their capability and understands where they add value.

My communication style is fairly informal and I get to know everyone as a person as well as an employee. I like to learn about who they are outside of work and I am supportive of their work/ life balance. However I’m just as comfortable having difficult conversations when needed and my team do not see me as a push-over. I understand my responsibilities as a leader and am confident championing the team’s work across the organisation.

What advice would you give to other managers?

I use the 6 people management commitments and I expect that structured approach from the managers in my team as well.

The commitments are part of the People Management programme which aims to raise the quality and consistency of the way people are managed in the Department of Health.

As a manager you need to make time for your team. It’s not an add-on to the day job, it is the day job. I ensure I have dedicated time in my diary for my staff. I have weekly 1-2-1s with my direct reports and I take their development seriously.

We also have regular team meetings and monthly branch meetings which set the strategic and wider context. I also hold a weekly management meeting with my senior staff so I know everybody is up to date with what is happening.

How would your team describe you?

I’ve been told that I have high standards but that I’m also approachable and fair.

This is what Rachel’s team have to say:

I know exactly what is expected of me in my role, but am encouraged to take my own approach to achieve my goals and objectives. I know when I am doing a good job because Rachel praises me for a job well done. Equally as important, I know if I need to work on something as Rachel is open and honest and will provide guidance where things can be improved on. In either case I know I am supported by her.

Rachel also speaks to the team on a personal basis every day and is genuinely interested in you as a person. She is an excellent role model and I have learned a lot working with her and her team!

Collette Petale, Project Manager.

Rachel is very encouraging. She interacts with and makes time for others, even those outside her Directorate which is rare for a Senior Civil Servant.

Her leadership qualities and professionalism extends beyond the Department of Health, and she's often asked to represent the department at conferences and meetings. Because of her expertise and her passion for her area of work she often cited as a role model for the department. She's a true leader.

Yvonne Williams, PA to Deputy Director

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