Making of a Great Manager; A Company’s Key to Success
The majority of American managers are in the wrong role, placed there based on seniority, a reward-based system, or favoritism/company politics. This fails to take into consideration what makes someone great at what they do currently, might not make them a great manager, which requires an entirely different set of skills. The skill set needed to be a great marketer or salesman or innovator or friend is not the same as those needed to lead other people well.
Failure to hire the right manager in the right role results in the disengagement of the manager and the team and ultimately costs the US between $319 to 398 billion annually, according to Gallup
Gallup estimates up to 70% of employee engagement variance is due to the abilities or inabilities of their direct manager. And when employee engagement wanes levels across all departments suffer, customer ratings sink; lower profitability is experienced; productivity and quality (more defects) go down; higher turnover is seen; more absenteeism and shrinkage (i.e., theft) are marked; and more safety incidents occur, making it difficult to run a profitable, HRO.
Indeed, manager talent is rare and difficult for companies to find. In fact, only 10% of the general population are thought to have all five of the sought-after managerial talents: the ability to motivate their employees; the ability to assert themselves to overcome obstacles in order for their team to push ahead; the ability to create a supportive and safe accountability environment; the ability to build trusting relationships that extend to work and home life; and the ability to make informed, unbiased decisions based on what’s best for the team and the company, not themselves or for other selfish reasons.
While 10% of the population may contain all five, another 10% contain several of the talents and can arguably be trained in the areas where they lack or train in their strengths to overcome their lack and still be a great, productive manager.
The Benefits of Hiring Talented Managers
We’ve already mentioned that employee engagement and retention tend to rely on their manager. In fact, “companies that hire managers based on talent realize a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, a 30% increase in employee engagement scores, a 17% increase in customer engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover.“
Talented individuals learn a role faster and are able to adapt to a role’s variances quickly. They, the newly-hired, talented managers, tend to be highly engaged as a result and a cascading effect of engagement has been measured.
Engaged managers tend to work for engaged leaders and engaged managers produce engaged employees. Therefore, engagement begins at the top and cascades through the ranks. If a company is struggling with disengaged employees producing less and of poor quality, the engagement at the leadership and management levels should be analyzed.
Talented managers tend to be better at setting performance goals, communicating with their teams and developing individuals based on their strengths which has shown to be a much better predictor of engagement and productivity levels. When employees connect with managers, they tend to be loyal to both the brand and the company, promoting it from an organic position.
Ensuring Great Managers Work for You
Since finding talented managers who are rare, tend to take up a great deal of time, companies tend to rely on the old habits of hiring from within their ranks, whether managerial talent exists or not, or simply hiring the first candidate that seems to fit the role. However, if firms take the time to follow four simple steps, they can improve their ability to hire and retain the best managers.
Align - vet managerial candidates and hire those with natural talents in the following areas: motivation, assertiveness, accountability, relationships, and decision-making. These talents surface quickly in most skill-set tests.
Individual contributors - align the right team members with the right manager based on the needs of the employee/team and the skills of the management team.
Engage directors and team members - create a company strategy that looks at ways to actively and continually engage each member of the team, perpetually, rather than relying on a new hire to turn things around.
Strength development - Focus on developing everyone’s strengths instead of attempting to fix everyone’s weaknesses. Continue to develop the manager by improving their known strengths as shown on their test results.
With a little bit of effort, every company can see remarkable improvements throughout their company.