3 Traits of Managers Who Empower High Performance and Engagement
By Sarah Deane
A focus on Employee Success
Billions upon billions are spent on leadership training and development and studies demonstrate that many companies plan to increase this, with priorities including growing the succession pipeline, retaining high potential employees, and fostering innovation and creative thinking. Even with all of this investment, with the state of the leadership landscape, 77% of organizations are experiencing a leadership gap. Going beyond the typical skills you associate with leadership, in 2017 the Engagement Institute identified stressed leaders as a large cause of employee disengagement, however, stress is on the rise with as many as 8/10 Americans afflicted by stress.
We have been talking with several organizations who are looking at up-leveling their development initiatives to try and close the gap by looking at deeper levels of employee growth. Through our work researching authentic leadership, and most recently, what makes people perform and feel their best, we have seen some common behaviors emerge that separates those managers that enable their employees to do their best work, feel good, and feel valued, from…well…the rest of the managers. Given the manager’s critical role in employee engagement, experience, and performance, here is a summary of some of the patterns we saw.
1: They enable their employees to focus on their work efforts
We found that there are two elements to this, for which several core behavioral competencies are needed. Firstly, great managers tend to remove roadblocks that are impeding their employees. Of course, employees naturally will try to get something done if they need to, however, there are times when they have exhausted all options and they need to escalate to their manager to move forward. Roadblocks could come from policies, processes, or people (be that internal or external parties). Great managers work to remove roadblocks in the best way possible for the employee, the other parties involved, and the company. This may sound simple, but in fact, it takes a plethora of skills, including contextual awareness to understand the situation, communications to work through to the resolution, active listening to understand the issues, emotional intelligence to respond in the right way, and a leadership style that focuses on how they can best serve their employees. We have all seen those managers who remove the roadblock by “burning the bridge” so to speak. This leaves the employee in the awkward position of still having to work with those that were trampled on by their manager. We have all likely also seen those managers who believe it is not a part of their role to “get involved” with such activities. Both of these can have a negative impact on the employee’s engagement and productivity.
Secondly, while organizational politics regarding strategic plans and influence naturally exist within a business, when they become dysfunctional they can be damaging to morale, foster negative emotions, and impede business performance. Managers focused on their employees’ success tend to provide “air cover” which can be described as, “a leader’s ability to cover a subordinate long enough …read more
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