Manager Selection and Development
If your organization is like most, you select managers according to such criteria as their tenure with the company, their successful performance as individual contributors, or your “gutfeel” that they’d do a good job. But Fortune reports that only 7 percent of those surveyed believe their organizations are building effective leaders; and research by CEB found that 60 percent of new managers underperform during their first two years. How can you help managers lead for more employee engagement?

Something about the management selection and development process is not working.

Three Main Problems
Our three decades of hands-on experience in this arena tell us that there are three main problems: inappropriate selection criteria due to lack of clarity around what effective managers really should do, and inadequate skills training.

  1. Selecting People Managers
    The right internal hires can save time and money while boosting employee engagement and retention. But most companies struggle to accurately and fairly identify potential managerial talent from within.  In fact, Gallup estimates that organizations promote the wrong people into new leadership roles 82 percent of the time.

    It’s not always easy to assess the people manager skills of potential leaders.  The good news is that the significant people manager failure risks can be prevented with the help of a People Manager Assessment Center that uses a combination of psychometric tests and  research-backed behavioral simulations to help with highly predictive manager identification, development, promotion, and succession planning.

    Do you need to enhance your ability to identify and develop people leaders in your organization based upon their aptitude for management?

  2. Clarifying Managerial Expectations
    Both senior leaders and employees have high expectations for managers. Senior leaders expect managers to build and lead high performing teams to execute their strategies.  Employees expect managers to set a clear direction, model the way, and set them up for personal and professional success.

    Unfortunately, our organizational alignment research found that the definition of what constitutes a high performing manager is unclear and often misaligned across key stakeholder groups and strategic priorities.  With up to three-quarters of the variance in team engagement decided by managers alone, it is imperative that companies codify often overly ambiguous and complex managerial roles and expectations.

    While the role of a manager won’t be exactly the same across all organizations, most people managers are responsible for understanding, translating, and aligning to the company’s goals, allocating work and resources, making decisions, resolving conflict, and removing obstacles while simultaneously attracting, developing, engaging, and retaining the talent they need to collectively succeed.

    Have you clearly outlined what constitutes high performance for people managers?

  3. Developing People Leadership Skills
    High performing people leaders excel at areas like coaching, communication, customer focus, decision making, delegation, developing, empowerment, influencing, organizing, mentoring, and planning.

    If you don’t have a candidate who can hit the deck running (and they are rare), then you need to put together a management training program that prepares them specifically for the job ahead. Don’t be fooled into thinking that off-the-shelf generic training will get it done.  Our training measurement research found that only 1-in-5 managers change their behavior from stand-alone training.

    If you want your managers to lead for more employee engagement, you need to invest the time into customizing and reinforcing an action learning leadership development program focused on the specific managerial competencies that matter most for your unique culture and strategy.  Otherwise, you are wasting people’s precious time.

    Have you designed and reinforced meaningful development opportunities for your managers?

The Bottom Line
Executives often underappreciate the impact that people managers have on the overall workforce.  How managers manage their teams has an outsized influence on how employees experience daily work.  While the job of people managers can be dynamic and complex, they can lead for more employee engagement if you set them up for success.

To learn about how to help managers lead for more employee engagement, download Research Report – Relationship Between Employee Engagement and Manager Effectiveness


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