May 28, 2018 | People

You can choose to invest training and coaching resources in your management team, or not. Either way, the results will show up in your bottom line or in the headlines. Just ask Starbucks – after they complete racial bias training for 175,000 employees across 8,000 stores this afternoon. All because of the actions of one manager.

The single most important decision an organization can make is choosing a manager. Why? Great managers know how to consistently engage their teams to achieve high performance. They create environments of accountability and build workplaces that fuel productivity and sustainable profitability.

Gallup research finds that managers account for an alarming 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores in the global workplace. That variance, in turn, is responsible for the severely low worldwide employee engagement levels. According to Gallup’s recent State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work.

Yet companies rarely invest time to understand what makes a great manager. Instead, they promote highly skilled producers and hope that they will be able to replicate their success through others.

So what do great managers do? Gallup finds that great managers have these five talents:

  1. They motivate every single employee to take action and engage employees with a compelling mission and vision.
  2. They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  3. They create a culture of clear accountability.
  4. They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  5. They make decisions based on productivity, not politics.

The secret to meeting these requirements is simple – they get to know their team. They don’t just ask their team members to take an online test like StrengthsFinder the Strengths Deployment Inventory. They know how to put those strengths to work.

Great managers know that the most effective way to invest their time is to identify exactly how each employee is different and then to figure out how best to incorporate those innate idiosyncrasies into the team’s operational plan.

Successful managers observe their team members in action. They ask questions, listen, and note what each person is drawn to as well as where they struggle. This practice helps them gain insight about how the unique contribution of each employee can shine.

Companies that increase their number of talented managers can double the rate of engaged employees, and achieve, on average, 147% higher earnings per share than their competition.

If your training budget is earmarked for leadership development and customer-facing skills training, you could be neglecting one of the most important cohorts in your organization. Select your managers carefully, then give them the tools, training, and coaching they need to maximize team engagement.

Question: Where are the training and development dollars going in your organization?


Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. To learn more, subscribe to receive CEE News!



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