Positive management practices

Learn how to positively manage employees and get resources to help.

See Positive management foundations to learn what you need to know before you start positively managing employees. Find out what your responsibilities are as a manager in the Queensland Government and why positive management is a Queensland Government requirement.

Find out who your employees are. Understand their individual needs and circumstances, and explore your team dynamics.

Review the Working for Queensland survey

Review your team’s results. What’s working for your team and what needs improving?

Act on the feedback. It will help your employees feel valued and engaged. They’ll see that their opinions matter and can affect change.

Speak individually with each employee

They’ll have different needs, be experiencing different health and personal circumstances, and be at different stages of their career.

Ask each individual where they see themselves personally and professionally in 3 and 5 years. Don’t typecast. Someone who is young and works full-time might not aspire to higher roles. A mature-age, part-time worker who has been absent from the workforce for family reasons may want to progress their career.

Ask each employee about their individual health needs and personal circumstances. You may need to make workplace adjustments for circumstances, including:

  • disability
  • caring responsibilities
  • illness or injury
  • chronic medical condition
  • domestic or family violence.

Adjust your workplace to ensure all employees can:

  • perform their job safely and productively
  • gain equal opportunity in recruitment processes, promotion and development
  • experience equitable terms and conditions of employment.

Don’t adjust the inherent requirements of a role or create an entirely new role unless it’s in the context of training or rehabilitation.

See Employee health, safety, and wellbeing for more on the type of adjustments you should consider.

Communicate with your team formally and informally with a mix of scheduled and unscheduled events, including:

  • regular group emails or online communications
  • regular team ‘stand-ups’ or ‘check-ins’ in-person or online (or both)
  • ad hoc ‘catch-ups’ (e.g. 15 minutes a day for general non-specific discussion)
  • weekly, fortnightly, or monthly team meetings
  • weekly, fortnightly, or monthly one-on-one discussions with each employee
  • lunch and learns for informal discussions about new ideas and strategies
  • occasional (e.g. once or twice a year) ‘skip  level’ meetings where the manager from 2 or 3 levels higher meets with employees.

Communicate with your employees constructively by:

  • preparing (making notes, knowing what you want to achieve, using specific examples)
  • delivering a clear and simple message (3 to 5 specific points)
  • considering cultural nuances (valuing diversity and cultural respect in the workplace)
  • choosing the best communication channel for the employee and the situation (written, verbal, visual, or a combination)
  • remaining calm, open, honest and respectful
  • listening to your employee
  • outlining your expectations (day to day and long term)
  • following up on your promises.

We all have unconscious bias. It’s a product of our need to organise our social world into categories. This can impact how you communicate with, and develop, your team.

You’ll naturally spend more time with employees you have an unconscious affinity with, informally discussing contributions, development and career plans. You’re also more likely to assign projects to them.

For those you have less affinity with, you’re more likely to question past performance and your conversations are likely to be less friendly.

Complete the Harvard Implicit Association Test. Get your team to complete it too. Discuss unconscious biases in the workplace, label the biases that commonly occur, and how you can all be more mindful about overcoming them.

Set up a team meeting structure that encourages diverse voices, by including round robin updates where everyone gets an equal say, and different people can assume the role of the chair. Be mindful of different types of communication styles and be inclusive of these differences.

See Diverse and inclusive workplaces on the Queensland Human Rights Commission’s website for more.

Complete the Human Right’s Commission’s Unconscious bias course.

Encourage your employees to take responsibility for planning and managing their careers.

Use a Performance and development agreement (PDA) to outline the skills and knowledge an employee needs to work on to support the team’s service delivery objectives.

Identify and develop strengths

Workplace strengths are a combination of competencies (e.g. leadership, problem solving, teamwork), knowledge-based skills (e.g. computer skills, legal training), and personality traits (e.g. positive, empathetic, trustworthy).

Identify an employee’s workplace strengths by:

  • asking them what they see as their strengths
  • reviewing their job responsibilities and work performance
  • considering feedback from others (e.g. if colleagues consistently ask the employee for their help or praise the work they have done, it indicates a strength)
  • getting them to complete either the online Competency compass or LEAD4QLD leadership assessment (or both).

Align an employee’s strengths with the responsibilities and expectations in their role. Set goals in their PDA based on their strengths.

Encourage your team to consider the strengths of each team member and how to use these strengths to achieve your team’s goals.

Provide career development opportunities

Include future development and career goals in your employee’s PDA. Outline the steps the employee will take to achieve their goals and the support you’ll provide.

Support might include:

  • on-the-job and formal training
  • stretch activities (beyond the employee’s current knowledge and skills)
  • networking and mentor opportunities
  • temporary role opportunities within and outside the team
  • project and leadership opportunities within and outside the team.

See Career development activities for more.

Provide feedback

Give positive and improvement-orientated feedback. If you only give negative feedback, employees may give up. If you only give positive feedback, employees may stop valuing it. If you don’t give any feedback, employees might assume you don’t appreciate their work and value.

Deliver your feedback in the moment, while the employee undertakes the project or task. Don’t wait for scheduled one-on-ones.

Recognise the strengths, requirements and circumstances of each employee and value their contribution. Recognise performance that meets or exceeds expectations.

If an employee’s performance does not meet expectations, address it immediately. Do not wait for a performance and development meeting to raise your concerns.

Find out if there are any personal circumstances contributing to the performance.

If the employee's performance is impacted by a medical condition, consider the available medical information. Provide reasonable adjustments to support the employee. If this does not help, seek further medical information about the employee's capacity to undertake their role. Contact the employee’s medical practitioner (with consent) or seek an independent medical examination (IME). See the Independent medical examinations directive for more.

If the employee’s performance is impacted by other personal circumstances (e.g. domestic violence, family caring responsibilities), consider the situation and work with them to put in place support and adjustments. See Employee health, safety and wellbeing for more.

If there are no personal circumstances contributing to the performance, identify the issues and strategies to address them. Set a timeline for improvement.

If initial discussions and support interventions do not help, consider a performance improvement plan (PIP). A PIP is a formal plan that uses strategies to improve performance within a set timeframe. It provides measurable goals, support mechanisms, and sets out the consequences if the employee doesn’t improve.