This question comes up often when talking with leaders in business. Most organisation have areas that consistently show poor employee engagement, which in many cases can be traced back to managers with limited or no talent for people management. It is tempting but unrealistic to think that all of these managers should be simply fired. Although not every manager perhaps has the talent to be great people managers, many can improve, with the right investment.
The key point is whether we are investing in the right sort of management development. In some ways, there is a need to go back to the basics in terms of leading people. Can the manager combine people and tasks in effective and meaningful ways? Most managers want to do a good job, but some just don’t know what to do.
Another challenge is those managers that feel that employee engagement is unimportant. They need the value of engagement demonstrated for them and in turn need to act on the results of employee engagement surveys. The best way to do this is by having senior leaders engage with their teams. Research shows that leaders who engage their direct teams will see those results cascade down as others emulate their behaviours.
The best way to start working with managers is to enable them to understand how their innate talent filters the world and that these talents can be used to engage with their teams more effectively. By developing their strengths, managers can improve employee engagement significantly by understanding how their strengths and those of their teams can be recognised, enhanced and leveraged.
Improvement in the way in which managers provide feedback significantly improves performance management, learning outcomes and how individuals experience the work place for example.
The power of strengths through a workplace coaching process is such that even if managers feel that they are not good at management, they may still be able to emulate good management, understanding that how they will get there will be unique to them.
Yendor Felgate is a Gallup certified Coach and a facilitator of the Gallup Accelerated Strengths Coaching Programme.