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Leadership: Are Your Managers Leading the Charge?



In this publication, we like to take an optimistic approach, focusing on the positives not the negatives. But, one of the topics that's been surfacing year after year in workplace studies is that bad managers are seriously bad for businesses. No one wants to talk about it, but, when facing the challenge of keeping your workforce engaged, it simply needs to be addressed.

Much of the information out there about employee engagement revolves around the topics we've been talking about in this issue. But what if, as a company, you've provided all or most of the essential elements for a great place to work, but poor leadership undermines all of your efforts?

According to Gallup, you've got bigger problems than you think.

Their research draws a direct link between how well a team is managed and how engaged that team is. What they've found is that, compared to the worst managed teams, the best managed teams have nearly 50% fewer accidents and 41% fewer quality defects.

The best managed teams also incur far less in healthcare costs. According to Jim Clifton, Gallup's Chairman and CEO, "Having too few engaged employees means our workplaces are less safe, employees have more quality defects, and disengagement—which results from terrible managers—is driving up the country's healthcare costs."

Now we have your attention…but, it's complicated, isn't it? In most organizations, our managers have earned the level they've achieved, and it's likely they possess more good qualities than bad. You may view this as a time to pick your battles—and not make this one of them.

But, if you don't hold your managers to the high standard fitting of their role, you might be sending the message that they are beyond scrutiny. If this is the perception, your employees aren't going to feel comfortable talking to anyone about struggles with their managers. If they feel they can't resolve their issues, they'll hunker down and start looking for a way out.

So, how will you know?

High turnover will tell you something is going on, but isn't that a little late?

If you're a manager of managers, it isn't just a good idea to keep tabs on and develop your managers into effective leaders, it's truly your duty. Your department, as a whole, relies on you to be minding the store, and that means minding that those you have put in charge are growing, learning, and getting better—just like you expect everyone else to.

Too often, after demonstrating strong ability and receiving a promotion in response, managers are left to fend for
themselves—and they sometimes end up struggling with one aspect or another of their new role. But you're not going
to let that happen, are you?



Try It
Managers are often evaluated on their personal performance and their team's performance,
but not necessarily on their interactions with their team members. You can learn how engaged
your managers are with their direct reports by delving more into those relationships. For
example: include specific questions on their performance reviews about their team members.
How, and whether, they are able to answer will be enlightening.


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