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Talent Management Employee Engagement Performance Management

Properly Assess Leadership to Better Management

May 6, 2014
3 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged


 More than eight out of 10 employees report that their relationship with their direct supervisor has a big impact on how happy they are in their position. These results from a Q2 2013 Engagement Study commissioned by Randstad are also heavily supported by a Dale Carnegie study. The study found that 80% of employees who are dissatisfied with their direct supervisor are disengaged.

We’ve got a big problem here, and quite often it is not the fault of the "bad boss;" it’s actually the fault of whomever put them in that role. If you have a staff full of great supervisors and managers, 1) Good for you, but you are the exception, not the rule, and 2) You’re probably wrong.

Sorry for the harsh words, but it’s true. Author of the Ask a Manager blog, Allison Green explores why there are so many bad managers. One of Green’s observations:

“The people above bad managers often don't know how to judge good management, or spot bad management. The workplace is full of confusion about what good management looks like and how to measure it. Organizations with clarity on this know that it's about building a great team that gets results over the long-term, but it's common to find employers that just aren't sure how to tell if they have effective managers in place or not.”

So how can organizations break the cycle of poor managerial assessment that inevitably leads to disengagement and turnover? Stop putting performers in managerial roles. 

So you have a sales rep that always puts up great numbers and follows the rules. He or she is just plain good at their job. That in no way will actually reflect how effective they might be at leadership. Even the best sales rep doesn’t necessarily have the traits that are vital in supervisory or managerial positions, like: communication skills, empathy, the ability to empower, trustworthiness and a positive attitude.

In fact, it is entirely possible that they don’t have even one of those traits. Stop using performance as the main leadership assessor; it doesn’t work. Marilyn Lustgarten of the Star Makers Group points out:

“Technical competency is often a far second to people skills. Promoting someone into a higher position because they're good at what they did in their prior position is often the wrong reason. Many of those technical skills can be learned later." Are decision-makers even aware of the organizational needs and objectives?

Take a look at whoever the decision makers are for different managerial positions. Even if it’s yourself, ask a few questions:

  • Do you know the needs or goals for the department in which you’re hiring?
  • Do you know the succession options?
  • Do you even have defined performance factors to base decisions off of?

Management isn't the next rung on the ladder.

Organizations have to stop treating management positions like they’re the next stop for long-tenure employees. In the same way that exceptional sales skills won’t make a good leader, neither will tenure. That’s not to say that either of these types of employees shouldn’t be offered the necessary training to manage should they be interested in the position. Management training programs are often very successful in filling leadership skill gaps. This type of training must be ongoing and tracked.

If you were to look back on the great bosses of your past, they would likely have a few traits in common that weren’t at all specific to your department, field or even industry. Organizations have to stop using leadership positions as rewards. The archaic notion that tenured or skilled employees deserve management positions is killing productivity and engagement. What they do deserve is to be properly compensated, valued and recognized.

Would you like to know how to better assess leadership and keep those positions aligned with company goals and objectives? We would love to help you find better bosses, reach goals and keep everyone happy while doing it. Contact us today!

photo credit: vichie81 via bigstock cc

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