Role of a Manager

The Role of a Manager

Your role as manager is to empower your staff to excel, reward performance and coach to success. These skills are also critical in the management of successful flexible work arrangements. A flexible work arrangement requires a manager’s support and approval. It is important to:

Be knowledgeable about Emory’s policies and procedures.

Be familiar with Emory’s guidelines and principles governing alternative work and consult the Emory WorkLife Resource Center when there are questions.

Promote flexibility and work with employees to customize solutions.

When used as management tools, rather than favors given to specific employees, there are many more options available to employees and managers for getting the job done.

Use discretion wisely.

A natural result of flexibility is discretion. Discretion involves examining each situation individually, while keeping in mind the needs of the employee and the institution. For most work-life issues, there is not a single definitive answer. Often a variety of solutions are viable. Managers must use discretion to select the appropriate solution.

Try to be accepting and fair.

Managers should set aside any biases they may have so they fully understand and consider the needs of individuals whose attitudes or lifestyles may differ from their own. Managers should review work-life issues in a consistent, objective manner and based decisions on what is best for Emory, the business unit, and the employee.

Be proactive.

Approach your work unit to discuss whether flexible work arrangements could improve work in your respective area and improve the quality of life for employees. Employees, manager, and key customers can work together to develop and implement arrangements that benefit all. Open discussions about flexibility may lead to more efficient ways to organize work by reducing work that is of low value or wasteful.

Be open to a variety of reasons why someone might need flexibility.

Aside from those reasons protected by law, e.g. FMLA, no reason given by an employee should be dismissed out of hand. Managers should assess the priorities of the business unit and the operational requirements as a basis for granting/denying a flexible arrangement. The reason of the request alone should not affect whether the request is granted.

Be willing to say no.

Despite the employee’s need, there may be job demands or work group considerations that make flexible work arrangements less viable. In some situations, an employee may not be suited to certain types of arrangements due to attendance or performance concerns. The timing may be wrong, or a particular job does not lend itself to a flexible schedule.

Be flexible.

Even with proper planning, unforeseen events can occur and the needs of the business unit may change and the flexible work arrangement may need to be re-evaluated. It is important to recommend the arrangements be tried on a pilot basis for a limited time to see how they work. Build in a process of review and for making changes.

Evaluate solutions.

After creating a plan with an employee or work team, make sure to agree to the work deliverables. Monitor and modify the arrangement as needed.

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