Despite the very best of intentions and efforts, standards of management are commonly lower than the standards managers expect out of their teams. Not surprisingly, in Australia the second most common reason given at exit interviews for voluntary resignations is dissatisfaction with a manager (the most common is dissatisfaction with career progress). This is consistent with research showing that while managers stated that they felt around 90% of resignations under their watch were due to employees chasing more money, the feedback of 90% of employees was that they left for reasons other than money.
Wow! Those are some amazing statistics. Do they indicate that employees are being less than honest, and actually a lot more than 10% left for more money? Or do they indicate that managers find it easier to simply blame money because that’s a way of blaming something outside of their control – of avoiding their responsibility in preventing employee disengagement? Or is it simply failures in communication and understanding? Or all of the above?
Then there are statistics around employee engagement, which is also directly linked to management techniques and styles. Gallup research showed that workgroups that rated in the top 25% for engagement achieved up to 24% higher productivity, 33% high customer satisfaction and 19% higher profitability than the rest. They also had improved safety records (up to 49% less incidents), staff turnover, honesty, mistakes and quality incidents. Can you imagine what sort of difference those improvements from the team might make to the success and stress in your business?
So far this all sounds pretty damning against managers, but that’s an oversimplification. Most managers are promoted to the position of being a manager because they were good at a skill, or had achieved well and are trusted, or served loyally for a long time – and then get the management training they need on average 10 years after they needed it – if at all. In other words, blindly parachuted into a leadership or management position because they were good at something else. It’s an entirely normal and entirely nonsensical concept – and it happens all the time. The result is often allocating valuable people to roles where they can’t contribute to the same level, under pressure, under-trained and under-resourced, leading to unnecessary stress, failures and resignations.
Symptoms of poor management behaviour indicating inadequate selection, management training or ongoing support include:
- Low self-esteem, job security and/or emotional intelligence;
- A need for control expressed through distrust, a need to have all the knowledge, non-collaborative decision-making and micro-management;
- Feeling that mistakes (by self or others) are unacceptable and irretrievable;
- Being generous with blame but not with credit;
- Focusing on problems and the past rather than solutions and the future;
- A focus on team personalities rather than performance;
- (Internal) indecision about direction, strategy and values;
- The feeling of being alone; and
- Working hard to make up for (or hide) weaknesses rather than working to take full advantage of strengths of self and others.
The solution to permanently improving the level of management quality comes in three parts which can be applied as a sequence or as a cycle–
- Identify high-potential people (future leaders) based on their character, behaviour, embrace responsibility and manage own performance, and the respect and cooperation gained from peers;
- Provide training, modeling and mentoring, especially in understanding and managing self and others; and
- Provide transparent and accessible performance criteria, along with ongoing regular feedback and support to enable the manager to gain confidence and competence.
It sounds simple because it fundamentally is. Management is about getting the best out of the business’s resources, most especially the team – and for that to happen people in management and leadership positions, from leading hands, through to supervisors, managers and senior leaders, need to be able to, above anything else, lead and manage the people they work with – and themselves in ways that enhance productivity.
In a high performance business, this is even more crucial – with regular formal and informal communications about goal setting, standards, achievement and support within a professional social system and a clear overall purpose. Good leaders and successful managers do this –they provide direction, support and empower their people – and then let them succeed. It’s not hard – but it does take management skill and management training.
21 Triangles delivers Management Training Courses in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and can provide custom-designed Management Training Courses across Queensland and Australia on request. 21 Triangles management training courses can be delivered in-class, in-person or online, in group or one-on-one settings.