If your goal is to rise up the ranks in your business, there are some things you should know about how to be a great business manager.

With no more than a cursory glance of the internet, you will find thousands of websites awash with advice about how to be a great business manager. From being the first in the office to the last to leave, they extol the virtues of your employees respecting you and ‘not asking anyone to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself’.

The lists of helpful and not-so-helpful skills are all well and good, but putting them into practice is a slightly more daunting prospect. To rise up the ranks, you need many things: inside knowledge of the business and the market in which you operate, commitment, enthusiasm as well as practical skills such as managing and leading people.

But what does it all really mean?

1.   Business Culture

Any business management course worth its salt will talk about the culture within an organisation. Culture in a business is about its values and behaviours that create the social and psychological environment within it.

In other words, what is it like to work there? Do people respect each other? Is there a divide between ‘the workers’ and ‘the management’? Is there open, clear, straightforward communication? Do people feel valued?

If you want to be an effective leader and manager, rising up the ranks to the dizzying heights of success, the first hurdle is to create an atmosphere – or business culture – that is open and transparent. In most businesses, this starts with improving communication.

2. Manager maturity

This may not be a phrase that you are synonymous with but again, a high-quality business management course will take a long, hard look at the personality of an excellent manager.

Maturity if the keyword. As you climb the ladder, the days of you moaning when things do go right, looking for scapegoats and processes to blame, are GONE. If you cannot align yourself with the corporate direction as a manager, then your employees are not going to either.

3.   Putting the right people in the right jobs

There is a skill and an art to delegation – and yet, so many managers don’t bother to learn how to delegate work.

Get it wrong, and you will have some people with too much to do, others with not enough, some people with work that they have no skills to do and people with specialist skills completing jobs that don’t require their specialisms.

It is not just about matching the right skill set to work that needs doing, but delegating work so people are challenged, as well as having variety and opportunity to develop and grow.

4.   Regular one-to-one’s

Meetings are essential. Yet, regular meetings between staff and their manager are often largely ineffective, poorly structured and frequently re-scheduled.

This means that people pick up the message that there is always something more important. But, top business leaders say that ‘the conversation is the relationship’ and as a manager, you need to ensure that you nurture these conversations. Businesses need great leaders to thrive.

5.   Manage conflict

There is no business in which there is no conflict. It is part and parcel of when a group of people come together. It is what makes us human.

People work well together, but some people don’t. Some people rub along nicely, others rub against each other. What one person will find to be a bubbly personality, another will find abrasive and overbearing.

Some people thrive on conflict, others detest it. If you don’t like conflict, it doesn’t mean you can’t be an effective manager but, as a business management course will highlight, conflict needs to be met, head-on.

But, handling conflict is something that will improve with training as well as experience. As a manager who regularly sees their staff for one-to-one meetings, as well as working hard to create a business culture that is open and transparent, who puts the right people in the right jobs and displays a managerial maturity that garners respect- dealing with conflict may not be something you have to do very often.

In Summary

Being a great manager is, in part, about personality. But it is also about choosing the best way to deal with issues, to balance the wants and needs of your employees with the business, whilst keeping customers and stakeholders happy too.

What managerial skills do you think you need to be a great manager?

Extended reading resource:

Employee management apps


One of the most important things for your business and employees to be aware of is the law surrounding employment and any changes in this area that may have a major impact on your business and its continuing success.

April 2017 was a busy month in terms of employment law changes. Therefore, this edition of my newsletter covers the main aspects employers need to be aware of.

Data Protection
When it comes to data protection, you should be aware that new standards will be introduced in 2018, so preparing for the changes is set to become a high priority for employers in 2017. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes with new requirements for consent when you collect employees’ personal details. In essence, you’ll need clear consent when it comes to collecting employee data that is separate from other matters and employees will need to sign separate declarations of consent for you to collect their information. Furthermore, employers will need to carry out audits of employee personal data that they collect to ensure that they meet GDPR conditions. New governance and record-keeping requirements will also mean that employers must develop or amend policies and processes for privacy notices, data breach responses and subject access requests.

Rates of pay
When it comes to budgeting for your hiring in 2017, it’s important to bear in mind that on April 1st, employees National Minimum Wage and Living Wage increased as follows:

  • Apprentices pay will increase by 10p per hour to £3.50
  • Pay for 16 and 17 year olds will rise to £4.05, up from £4 per hour
  • Pay for 18 to 20 year olds will rise to £5.60, up from £5.55 per hour
  • Pay for 21 to 24 year olds will rise to £7.05, up from £6.95 per hour
  • Pay for workers aged 25 and up will increase to £7.50, up from £7.30 per hour

For the first time since April 2015, the statutory rates of pay for maternity, paternity, shared parental leave and adoption increased from 2nd April to £140.98 a week, as did the rate of statutory sick pay to £89.35 per week.  It’s also important for employers to note that the statutory redundancy pay rate has increased to £489 per week.

Salary sacrifice schemes
You may need to reconsider benefits you offer to employees as tax savings through salary-sacrifice schemes. Most schemes from April will become subject to the same tax as income, although arrangements in place before April 2017 will be protected until April 2018 or April 2021, depending on what they offer. The changes will affect different salary sacrifice arrangements in different ways, however only a few will continue to benefit from tax and National Insurance contributions relief. Schemes related to pension savings (including pensions advice); childcare, cycle-to-work and ultra-low emission cars will not be affected.

Employing foreign workers
If you’re planning to employ or already employ someone from overseas, new changes will mean foreign worker with a tier 2 visa on the payroll will require you to pay an extra £1,000 per worker, or £364 if you are a small business or a charity, known as the “immigration skills charge”. In addition, any new foreign workers applying for a tier 2 visa will need to be earning a minimum of £30,000 per year.  These changes are going to be a high priority for companies in 2017 and those who start preparing now will be better placed to effectively minimise any disruption to their business, particularly as failure to comply with these regulations could lead to legal penalties and fines.

For more details of how employment law changes will work, please contact me on 07880 207 483 or email me at Helen@byrnejoneshr.co.uk