State of Management — 2021
An NFL Team can’t win without a good coach. Students can’t learn without a good teacher.
A company can’t succeed without good management.
What defines a good football coach or teacher is a mix of things; not only do they have experience and knowledge in their chosen profession, but they also possess the skills to engage with their players or students, allowing them to motivate them and bring out their strengths appropriately. Chances are, someone, either a colleague, manager, or even themselves, at some point saw that they had true leadership potential.
According to Gallup, what defines a good manager isn’t just someone who was good at their previous job and somehow worked their way up to being a manager. If that were true, wouldn’t every successful NFL player find a way to become a successful coach? What defines a good manager is someone who has both the experience and the right soft skills, properly engaging and motivating their employees and themselves.
Gallup released a 50-page document from 4+ decades of research of 2.5 million teams in 195 countries, analyzing 27 million employees’ engagement levels. I read this entire document and broke it down for you, so you don’t have to.
The outlook on management looks pretty grim. The study found that currently, one in ten people in the working population has the high talent to manage a team effectively, and two in ten have “functioning” managerial talent. “Functioning” doesn’t sound so great to me.
But employees with a highly engaged manager find success in the workplace, as they are 59 percent more likely to be an engaged employee. And this is huge because Gallup’s study found that only thirty percent of the US workers are engaged in their work and only 13 percent worldwide.
“I was promoted because I was successful in a previous non-managerial role.”
That was the top reason that people became managers. Okay, that’s great, but as I mentioned before, having the talent of being a manager is more than just experience and knowledge. Gallup found that these were the top traits of a great manager:
- Ability to Motivate: To take action and engage with their employees and team’s projects
- Assertiveness: To help drive outcomes and overcome adversity and resistance.
- Decision Makers: To make decisions “based on productivity, not politics.”
- Accountability: To be accountable themselves and reflect that in their team’s culture.
- Relationships: To be comfortable, building relationships that encompass trust and transparency.
While an employee may have been great in their previous role, they may not have these skills. They may be motivating but struggle to build relationships and make objective decisions. They may develop relationships but struggle to be assertive and motivate their team.
What are the benefits of having an engaged manager?
Well, first of all, employees want it (and you want happy employees). Gallup found that employees want three main things through extensive research—communication, performance management, and a strengths-based manager.
As far as communication, many employees preferred clear, consistent, and meaningful communication, often daily, not only about work but also about feeling like they can talk about non-related work issues. Gallup states, “A productive workplace is one where people feel safe to experiment, challenge, share info, and support one another.” A manager who sits on the sidelines and doesn’t make their employees feel like they can come to them with new ideas or bottlenecks isn’t actively engaged.
Concerning performance management, employees want more than a once a year detailed annual performance review. They want more consistent check-ins, and Gallup found that employees were more engaged when managers helped set priorities and goals. While employees can likely do that themselves, isn’t that what a manager is for? To help manage?
Lastly, employees prefer a strengths-based manager. That means someone who focuses on employee’s strengths, rather than improving their weaknesses or mixing a balance of both. By the time someone is in the work world, they already know their weaknesses, but the greatness comes from honing in on someone’s strengths.
Okay, I do want to keep my employees. What else can an engaged manager do for me?
Engaged managers can not only lower turnover, but Gallup found that employee engagement can lead to higher customer ratings, higher profitability, fewer defects in productivity and quality, and less absenteeism. An engaged manager is a win-win-win. A win for an employee, a win for a client/customer, and a win for a company.
I get it now, and I have a few pretty engaged managers. How can I help them become even better?
Consider a People Intelligence tool, like Peoplelogic. Peoplelogic.ai helps companies grow by aggregating data from tools that your company is already using to make objective decisions and find bottlenecks, using machine learning and artificial intelligence. Peoplelogic will also provide your managers with recommendations for their teams to increase employee engagement, protect against attrition, and decrease burnout. People Intelligence and Peoplelogic, in particular, can help a good manager become great.
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