Employee engagement is often attributed to the work environment, the work itself, and even a lack of communication. What has a tendency to fly under the radar, however, is the managers who supervise them. A poor manager can leave the team disengaged and unmotivated to strive beyond the bare minimum. Unfortunately, some managers aren’t prepared enough to feel comfortable leading their team. In order to increase employee engagement, companies have to educate managers in the art of… well, managing.
What Makes a Good Manager
First, let’s discuss what actually qualifies a manager as a “good” manager. In the State of the American Workplace, Gallup noted the qualities that effective managers have as:
Every single supervisor won’t have all of these qualities. That’s why really good managers are uncommon; rarely does a supervisor have all of these qualities. But, here’s the trick: you can help your managers be better leaders. You can educate your staff to be more effective and hone in on this particular skill set.
Employees who show promise for leadership potential can be guided towards programs to develop the skills listed above. Identifying this prospective talent before it hits management level will lower poor leadership. Currently, 46% of organizations are investing in leadership development. Previously mentioned in this series, Ruediger Schaefer, General Manager for Germany and Switzerland at Right Management, said:
“The good news is that only 7 percent of companies plan to make investments in outplacement and workforce transitions, reinforcing that most employers will be focused on talent management rather than further cutbacks and restructurings.”
Managers need to be trained before they hit leadership positions. Only 27% of leaders feel they are prepared to lead their teams towards an optimal workplace and one in which employees can perform at their best. Even worse, the HR professionals who track development don’t feel an overwhelming majority of managers are ready for the leadership positions they already hold. Only 9% of HR professionals are prepared to address changes to human capital management.
Consistently educating managers on the art of leadership is a must for developing a strong talent management system. Currently, only 41% of employees worldwide said their employer provides opportunities for training. So less than half of the managers in any given company don’t receive the education they need to stay on top of their managing styles and how to effectively guide their team. Ongoing training isn’t just good for the team’s success, it’s good for the company’s talent management as well. Peter Leighton, Senior Vice President of Recruiting at Combined Insurance, said:
“Too often, organizations overlook the critical need for management training. Leading is different from doing, and effectively managing a team of people responsible for a particular task or mission requires a whole new set of skills.”
To increase employee engagement, maybe it’s time to start looking at your managers. While it is important to give the employee base a set of opportunities to grow their career, but it’s also important to give the same opportunities for managers to learn and better understand how to communicate and lead their teams. Identify who has the management potential in your organization and give them the tools they need before they hit these leadership roles. That will help develop their skills into perfected models of ideal management.
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After all, the art of managing isn’t easy and needs continuous training just like any other position.