What Happens When Managers Aren’t Managing

When Managers aren't Managing

According to the results of a Gallup survey, only 50% of employees know what is expected of them at work.  This is what happens when managers aren’t managing.  In other words, managers are neglecting 50% of their most precious resource, the people on their team.  It is a bit like giving half of the team instructions how to do their job and blindfolding the other half.  Nobody would intend to do this but the outcome is similar.

The Gallup survey also highlights that those team members who do have very clear expectations are 2.5x more likely to be highly engaged.  And we know engaged employees are on average 2-3x more productive.

The Importance of Setting Clear Goals

I talked about the importance of setting clear goals in a recent article.  The goals need to describe what success looks like, how it will be measured and why it is important.  Strong alignment and commitment from both manager and employee to the goals is a critical.  Once these are in place, they form the foundation for high levels of engagement and outstanding employee performance.

I recommend the manager use a coaching style to help the employee achieve these goals. A coaching style empowers and supports the employee to maintain accountability and find a solution. It helps them learn and grow, and improves their engagement and motivation. This is lost when the manager takes over, and they become a bottleneck, overwhelmed with work. This means the manager has less time to manage which takes us back to the start of the cycle. It is a vicious circle that explains why managers aren’t managing.

I Learned This The Hard Way

This is so clear to me because it describes perfectly how I used to manage early in my career.  To break out of this I learned to:

  • Set clear goals and provide feedback
  • Be a good coach and help team members learn and grow
  • Hold team members accountable 

It isn’t difficult but it takes time and focus, especially when those are in short supply.  The alternative is to keep on digging the hole you are in deeper and deeper, and I know that’s no fun.

I’m going to talk about this in an upcoming webinar about how leaders turn action into results.  Subscribe below to receive Leadership Insights and be notified when webinar registration is available.