Are Managers to Blame for Disengaged Employees?
22 Feb

Are Managers to Blame for Disengaged Employees?

disengaged employees

Managers who don’t know how to meet the engagement needs of their team become a barrier to employee, team and company performance’, suggests a recent Gallup poll.

 

The global poll found that disengaged employees outnumber engaged employees by almost 2:1 (24% vs. 13% respectively), so can we then presume that on a worldwide scale, more people find their working lives dissatisfying rather than delightful?

 

An engaged team is naturally the more preferable option, delivering better results across the board in terms of higher employee retention, customer satisfaction ratings and of course profitability to name but a few benefits.

 

Are managers to blame?

 

In a way. But it’s a tricky one.

 

We can’t levy all of the blame at the manager’s doorstep. Whilst it is undeniable that they have a huge amount of collective influence, we must also consider the impact of organisational culture and the infrastructure in place to support them to be able to effectively manage and lead their teams.

 

After all, if a manager is brought into a company that has little or no concern for their people, should we then be surprised if the manager adopts a similar style? This lack of concern can be seen in many ways such as ignoring suggestions, telling not asking or the mis-match between corporate values and behaviour demonstrated, particularly from senior leaders.

 

Let’s be clear: there is a big difference between a manager who actively chooses not to engage their team and one who is not supported to work in such a way. The former must always be performance managed, but we mustn’t paint all managers with the same brush.

 

‘Appropriately trained and aligned managers are vital to the execution of the company’s mission and to the development and engagement of employees.’

Brian Fielkow

 

disengaged employee
The way forward?

 

There are a huge number of factors that can impact employee engagement levels, but to see a significant increase a few of the top areas to focus on include:

  • As mentioned, organisational culture, including strategy, mission, purpose and values must be aligned to provide a unified direction, and this must be driven from the top.
  • People (not just managers) must feel empowered rather than micromanaged.
  • People (particularly managers) must be invested in and supported, both on-the-job and in the long-term through management and leadership development and training.

 

Coming next week: Part two of our look at the importance of developing Emotional Intelligence as an interpersonal skill.

 

Get in touch to find out how we can help to develop your people and your business. Learn more about our management training.

Science or Magic? How to Build Trust Through Openness
17 Aug

Science or Magic? How to Build Trust Through Openness

With openness being one of the top five drivers of trust1, why do so many organisations neglect to develop this essential quality in their leaders and managers? After all, it’s not rocket science…or is it?

 

Openness is considered to be a philosophy or theory that encompasses being accessible and receptive to ideas, opinions and knowledge, whilst being transparent and collaborative in management style and decision-making2. Doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? Yet so many employees feel that openness is not practiced, with issues in the workplace ranging from low confidence, lack of ability or understanding and even the misconception that being open gives the perception of being less authoritative.

 

However, employees become frustrated with this apparent lack of openness and are under no illusions when it comes to organisational challenges and issues; and management appearing closed simply serves to escalate the frustration. Without the transparency or collaboration required for openness, employees will replace these missing elements and fill in the gaps for themselves.

 

There’s just some magic in truth, honesty and openness.

Frank Ocean

 

With this in mind, what can you do to develop your openness?

 

1. Be visible and engaged

Don’t hide behind a hierarchical management structure or bland generalised emails. Get out there with your teams, let them see you and feel your presence and become more personally engaged in them as people. Learn about your people, move away from ‘safe’ banal chit chat and discover them as individuals rather than the tasks or role that they do.

 

2. Be accountable and committed

Never underestimate how important it is to take ownership of your messages and decisions. Employees may not always agree with you, however they will more often than not respect you for owning a message or action. It demonstrates commitment and transparency which helps employees to understand issues and challenges. Most importantly it is a fundamental part in helping people to manage and cope with change.

 

3. Be consistent

Build confidence and trust by ensuring your actions and behaviours are consistent. Employees waste too much time trying to gauge the mood of their manager or which way they will be behave, so take ownership and be consistent.

 

4. Listen and encourage feedback

Your people don’t just want you to hear them but to actually listen and take note of their opinions and feedback. It’s a full time job really listening and understanding exactly what is being said, especially if you consider the amount of change and uncertainty that may be taking place in the current climate. Your employee’s feedback will tell you so much more than any report or survey; after all, they are seeing the business from the front line and their observations can be critical to resolving issues early on or recognising when things are or aren’t working.

 

5. Express your opinion

Whilst it is great that you ask your employees for their feedback, don’t be afraid of giving yours as well. As mentioned earlier, they may not agree but by understanding your thinking process and the bigger picture they can start to appreciate situations a lot more. Be confident in your opinions but not overtly authoritative – remember you’re encouraging a participative style of leadership by asking for opinions and feedback of others so strike a healthy balance of assertiveness.

 

Trust is the underpinning value in creating effective working relationships and has a direct impact in increasing employee engagement and satisfaction. Therefore it is critical that leaders and managers are able to demonstrate trust to their employees, customers and shareholders alike. Hopefully we have shown that this isn’t rocket science, however that doesn’t mean it’s easy although still something that must be invested in.

 

At Right Trax Training, we can help you and your people to develop the key drivers of trust. Get in touch to find out more.


1 ILM

2 Openness

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