‘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.’
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.
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