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The Tone of a Manager

The way a manager conducts themselves is key to achievement in their role. This topic has become a common talking point within our HR cases as workers have raised grievances for the manner and tone in which their manner has spoken to them. The conduct of the manager may be warranted, but the manner in which that discussion or instruction is given can result in entirely opposing ways.

One way in which the success of a manager is measured is through the tone of their voice. A manager’s tone in the workplace can be a great asset when giving praise of support to a member of staff. If their tone of voice is kind then they will be able to communicate respect and admiration.

Employees would say they prefer and enjoy working for an upbeat and enthusiastic manager whose voice instils positivity. On the other hand, an ineffective managerial tone of voice can come across as either condescending or degrading. In order to communicate effective with employees, a manager should ensure that their tone of voice aligns with the message they wish to send.

There have been increasing cases whereby staff who are challenged about their performance, attendance or conduct are then citing the way they have been addressed as hostile, intimidating and degrading. In other words, they feel they are being bullied at work.

After surveying 2,000 UK based employees on their experiences at work, one source found that 23% of the British workforce has been bullied at work, while a further 25% have been made to feel left out in the workplace. Statistics like these contribute to work related stress, and even constructive dismissal allegations. This asks the question what can managers do to ensure they are able to do their own job, without overstepping the mark?

Of course, managers must be allowed the autonomy to manage. Yet the manner in which they address and communicate a concern to their worker can ultimately affect the outcome of the matter at hand.  While ‘Crucial Conversations’ may be a term of the past, the reality is that a manager who is aware of the facts and has reviewed affected policies will always be best prepared. Considerations that should be given include:

  • The mental health and wellbeing of the employee they need to speak to
  • Any ongoing or recent formalities that have caused resentment or dispute
  • The likely reaction to the matters being discussed

Therefore, it is clear that a good manager will accommodate different members of staff and take extra care with those who are experiencing a troubling time. All in all, the more effectively a manager can set the tone of their leadership, the more willing and hardworking their workforce will become.

If you would like any advice and guidance on this or any other employment matter, then call us on 03456 122 144.