Johnson has a small team of direct reports and very definite ideas about how to manage them. He has no time for micromanagement, he says, but believes in trusting his staff and sees his role as creating the environment for them to thrive.
“I ask them ‘what can I do to help you do your job better?’ It’s crucial a leader asks that.”
His interest in his direct reports’ work-life balance extends to talking to them monthly about how much time they allow for their families. He asks his team to score from one to five how much time they spend engaging with colleagues and how much with loved ones. He does the same exercise himself. It is important to think about it systematically and check the balance is right, he says, because if he ignores the family side, “it’s hard for me to come to work.”
If his team show him a lower score for family than work, he says he tells them to work on achieving a score of four or five. Far from seeing this as intrusion by their manager into their personal lives, “the guys love it,” he says.
Johnson is also a strong supporter of “activity-based working”. This means that staff will have choices other than sedentary workstations, with sit-stand desks and even ones with treadmills underneath so they can walk while they work.
“I’m all about people moving and keeping active,” he says. “When I have team meetings we go for a walk in St James’s Park, weather permitting. It’s better than being sat here. If you ever see pictures of the Greek philosophers mentoring people, they are always shown walking. It makes people think differently and makes them more open.”
Read IOSH Magazine’s full interview with Clive Johnson: