Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring the critical role of managers.
Managers are 70% responsible for employees’ attitudes about their jobs.
In what ways do you optimize your management team? Are you getting the most bang for your buck?
Extensive research reveals startling conditions in typical organizational settings. Gallup’s State of the American Manager Report, last updated in 2017, confirms a strong correlation between company prosperity and middle management abilities.
Through the Manager Report and numerous surveys, Gallup has exposed lingering trends in employee disengagement, distrust and dissatisfaction, which directly hit the bottom line. Managers are 70% responsible for employees’ attitudes about their jobs, affecting their attendance, quality of work, willingness, loyalty, and customer feedback. Gallup’s No Recovery Report found that the American GDP per capita has slowed its growth from 3% to 0.5% in the last 50 years. The growth in personal productivity has essentially stopped, even with the advent of improving technology.
This puts the onus on top leadership to make sure their management structure is as effective as possible, a condition that statistics say is rare. Surveys indicate only 10% of people have a high talent to manage effectively. Unfortunately, they also show that about 82% of the management segment is chosen from outside this small window.
When top leaders prioritize the quality of their management team, their organizations thrive. When they don’t, they struggle, sometimes marginally, sometimes catastrophically. Leaders enjoy the highest levels of success when they put the right people in the right roles, and train them to develop and engage their employees. Each of these steps requires a thoughtful approach with diligent upkeep.
The Leadership Mindset
The leadership mindset has changed over the last few decades. In the 2018 article, Want to Improve Productivity? Hire Better Managers, Gallup managing partner Vipula Gandhi describes the traditional leadership philosophy of control and privilege. Experience shows that this has always been detrimental to organizational life. However, employees no longer accept controlling environments or stern practices. As a coach, I see first-hand how leaders with controlling methods suffer from high employee disengagement, inefficiencies, and turnover. This is not a recipe for success.
Another frequent practice is placing people into leadership roles based on their seniority or past accomplishments, with a high emphasis on their technical skills. Unfortunately, effective leading is much more dependent on people skills. Employees respond much more favorably to managers who know how to relate with them than those who have technical savvy. Technical skills can be honed to lead technically, but people desire managers who can lead personally. People skills are heavily influenced by personality, which is much harder to adapt. Many technically capable managers have poor people skills, and thus have poor followings with the associated fallout.