Managing your offshore team: 5 things you’re doing wrong
The impact of managers on satisfaction and productivity
If your organization has become a revolving door, there must be something wrong with management. After all, people leave bad bosses, not the company, don’t they?
It usually starts with a couple of unhappy employees leaving. Others with pent-up resentments get the courage to follow suit. Then, suddenly, you find your department almost empty.
That’s exactly what happened with companies around the world in 2021 – the Great Resignation, which was brought about by organizations failing to foster working conditions the employees needed.
Experts believed that the mass resignation phenomenon of 2021 was a long time coming as managers have been using the traditional, authoritative way of running their teams.
Researchers discovered that a lack of empathy blindsided managers from what the employees needed, and when the pandemic came, people mustered the courage to quit and look for other opportunities.
On the flip side, companies with managers who have good relationships with the workers survived and even thrived during the Great Resignation.
A Harvard study discovered that a one-point increase in their five-point management score resulted in a 23% increase in productivity.
With minimal attrition, high employee satisfaction, and higher productivity, the companies that survived the Great Resignation most likely grew during the pandemic.
These organizations understood that more than salaries and benefits, people wanted to work with an organization that knows and delivers what’s important to their employees.
They thrived because they did not have bosses who overtly control employees, but they have servant leaders who care for the people.
The anatomy of a bad manager
With the clamor for work-life balance and better management, many companies are looking to change how they engage their employees.
Some have started with doing structural overhauls to allow them to offer hybrid work arrangements for employees seeking work-life balance.
But many still struggle with turning their managers into servant leaders because they do not know exactly what to change.
Below is a list of the things your manager might be doing wrong and some tips on how you can help them improve.
There are no efforts to understand the people
Stress in the workplace can come from many things: It can come from the pressure to deliver, piling tasks and deadlines, strained relationships at work, or even something more personal outside the confines of the office.
The least a manager can do is not be a source of stress but a refuge – someone an employee can talk to in tough times. And this is impossible without having empathy and a genuine curiosity about the status of the people.
To change this, the organization must train and re-orient their managers about the importance of their role in keeping the employees happy and productive. The executives can even include “employee happiness” as part of a manager’s key performance index.
An organization can also improve its career programs and place a heavier emphasis on building relationships, creating trust, initiating dialogues, problem-solving, and transparency when promoting an employee to managerial or supervisory positions.
If needed, revise company values and create new ones that will inspire everybody in the organization to create a happy workplace. Changing the managers’ perspective can be hard, but with the support of the executives, it can be done.
There is no sense of gratitude at all
Saying thanks for a job well done may seem too small to affect the whole organization, but the numbers show otherwise. Studies from Harvard and Wharton showed that getting a “thank you” from a manager boosted the productivity of employees by more than 50 percent.
The sad part is most supervisors forget to give some love when their employees perform, thinking that it’s their job to work anyway. But if you look at it, there’s nothing preventing managers from thanking the employees even for a day’s work.
Saying thanks is free, and it can be done immediately by anyone. So, encourage your managers to be more grateful, even for the employees’ little efforts. Make it personal. Make it come from a genuine sense of gratefulness. It’s a small effort, but the effects are big.
They see the negative in everything every time
Managers are in their positions to support the people and make them better, but many of them mistake their job for being just harsh critics. They tend to nitpick on the small mistakes and ignore the little wins of an employee.
Some managers tend to see themselves as “leaders” who must correct all the mistakes to contribute to the business. But the results are bad: People lose confidence, and their performance goes down. The manager becomes a toxic boss and the office a toxic place.
In training your managers, there must be an emphasis on fostering a culture of positivity in the workplace. It does not mean just turning a blind eye to some mistakes, but more of seeing the little improvements and starting to build from there.
Criticisms can remain, but they must come from a place of care, not from a place of authoritarian execution. Errors can be seen as areas of improvement instead of just plain mistakes. There must be a change in mindset, and it must come from genuine care.
They create more fear than inspiration
Old school managers can be strict, brash, and relentless, making them “terror bosses” in the eyes of fearful employees. This can significantly demotivate the workforce.
In this day and age, an organization no longer needs “terror bosses” but rather servant leaders who motivate and inspire. Train your managers on ways to encourage the employees not only to be better workers but also to be better people.
Let your managers attend leadership programs and share their learnings with the employees. Allow them to mentor people. Create more venues for collaboration. Managers are human beings too, and the more people can relate to them, the better their relationship will be.
Structurally, you can place the office of your managers nearer to their team and initiate an open-door policy. Having inspiring managers is important because, in the eyes of the employees, they represent the organization and its executives.
They do not even take care of themselves
The amount of care you can give to others can only be equal to the amount of care you give to yourself. And if your manager is the kind who works beyond his capacity, then there might be a problem there. Being a good manager would be impossible without self-care.
There are different ways to inspire self-care among managers. Still, the very least a company can do is to provide a vehicle to help them become better physically and mentally. For one, you can give them free gym passes or extra vacation leaves.
A company can also create a cafeteria that serves healthy food options. Company excursions once or twice a year can help in easing the stress off the managers and the employees. Including mental health services in their health benefits can also be a game-changer.
Managing your offshore team, the right way
The quality of management you must deliver does not change even if you are managing an offshore team. The qualities of a good manager mentioned above apply to managers of offshore teams, as well.
Managing a team from a different culture needs you to understand some differences and commonalities where you can meet.
Perhaps visiting your team every quarter can make your offshore team feel how you value their work every day.
Offshore outsourcing is perhaps one of the best solutions for companies that would like to increase value, grow, and be competitive at a lower cost.
However, it will not work if you have managers doing things the old authoritative way. What employees need today are not bosses but servant leaders.
If you want to improve your managers’ way of doing things, you can ask your outsourcing provider about some best practices and programs you can adopt.