Effective Management

The biggest opportunity for your organization lies within your managers

Effective Management
March 30, 2023
5 min read

Empowering managers with the right tools and training is critical for any organization looking to succeed in today's rapidly changing business environment. Managers play a crucial role in ensuring that the organization achieves its goals and objectives. However, without the right tools and training, they can quickly become overwhelmed, leading to decreased productivity, low employee morale, and ultimately, a failure to achieve the organization's goals. In this blog post, we will explore why empowering managers with the right tools and training is the single most important thing an organization can do.

It starts with the manager

Investing in the development of your managers is not just an opportunity, it’s a requirement for the future success of your organization. At Drumbeat, we’ve spent the last several years dedicated to helping entrepreneurs create intentional and productive company cultures. But while we’ve made a ton of progress, we were surprised to observe a single major barrier to our goal of high employee engagement: managers.  

What we’ve learned since that initial observation is that employee engagement is directly linked to managers…but managers don’t have the requisite skills and training to be successful. Managers are both critical and under-equipped…and the new reality of hybrid work is exacerbating this gap.

In the last year alone, managers experienced a 25% increase in burnout, and are now 2x as likely to quit compared to individual contributors. Nonetheless, managers continue to serve as the lifeline for individual contributors and the best way to drive productivity, morale, connection, and well-being at both the team and company level. 

A manager is a multiplier

Managers are multipliers of employee success. Good managers amplify organizational success by improving the productivity and performance of each of their reports. By acting as a one-to-many bridge between the C-Suite and employees, they are the ones who will communicate strategic initiatives and execute on the organizational mission. Here are three ways good managers can add value to your organization:

  1. Prevent turnover:
    Well-developed managers create a huge competitive advantage for organizations. A Gallup Panel conducted prior to the pandemic found that it takes a pay increase of around 20% to lure most employees away from managers who engage them. Good managers can single handedly reduce turnover for your organization. Another stat from our friends at Humu states that 40% of the departing employees could be retained if their manager takes positive action on time. What’s more: employees are almost 8 times more likely to stay at a job when given consistent growth opportunities by their managers.

  2. Mitigate burnout:
    Managers can cause burnout just as much as they can prevent it. 58% of employees consider their manager the most significant cause of their burnout. But, managers can do a lot to support their teams and avoid it. By understanding their people on a personal level, they can get the best out of them. Knowing how they work, what their life outside of work is like, and how much they can reasonably take on, managers can do a lot to prevent them from becoming overworked and protect their drive and energy.

  3. Motivate:
    When it comes to motivation, one of the most important but overlooked manager behaviors is psychological safety. Great managers create inclusive environments that foster candor, belonging, and innovation. Teams with great managers tend to have 78% more psychological safety, which is one of the essential factors behind effective performance. Employees then feel safe to speak up with ideas, questions, concerns and mistakes.

Managers need support from the top

But managers are feeling the weight of their growing responsibilities- starting with their own KPI’s, personal development and career goals, and those of their reports. Companies that invest in managers see the return on investment in performance and engagement across the entire org. According to Wigert and Harter (2017), bad management costs roughly $7 trillion globally every year. And only 20% of employees strongly agree that their manager motivates them. 

The majority of managers don’t have the skills they need, or the training they want, to be effective people leaders. According to Gallup, managers control around 70% of the variation in team engagement, but only one in three strongly agree they've had opportunities to learn and grow in the last year. Worse yet, only 30% of managers strongly agree that someone at work encourages their own development.

Support for managers should start at the top and trickle down in order to affect positive change across the organization. The 2020 Linkedin Learning Report states that only 27% of managers feel that their CEOs are active champions of learning across the organization. If leaders themselves aren’t sold on the importance of investing resources into manager development, why would anyone else be?

How to equip managers to be successful

Organizations are spending a ton on learning and development and aren’t seeing the results they should. Average training expenditures for large companies increased from $17.5 million in 2021 to $19.2 million in 2022. Yet only 25% of respondents to a recent McKinsey survey believe that training measurably improved performance. Framed in a different way, 75% of training is seen as ineffective and a misuse of funds. The main reason for this is that organizations are implementing a one- size- fits-all approach which often involves a large up-front time commitment and provides low value.

Organizations need to add high quality resources in the core areas of manager roles. A successful manager development program will be multi-pronged, and occur in the flow of work, so that talent development becomes a part of your managers’ day-to-day work life. It’s important to offer development opportunities in a variety of formats—instructor-led skills intensives, one on one coaching, group coaching, etc.—and then ensure that there are mechanisms in place to help employees put what they’ve learned into action. (To learn more about the benefits of active learning vs. passive learning, check out our previous blog post.)

According to the 2020 LinkedIn Learning report, 94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. But a recent survey conducted by 15Five uncovered that 56% of employers don’t offer a clear path for advancement.

Providing managers with learning and development opportunities requires a sophisticated approach that includes a combination of:

  • live instruction and discussion to inspire them and shift their mindsets
  • practical tools to enable deployment of their new skills
  • interactive practice, debrief, and repetition to build their automaticity and confidence
  • self-paced learning to deepen and individualize their mastery
  • experiential learning to promote practical application of skills
  • social learning to build community and reinforce adoption
  • individualized focus on the individual strengths of each manager
  • coaching and feedback to promote their engagement

Putting it into practice

In order to bridge the gap between what managers need to be successful and what the organization can reasonably offer, we’ve built a comprehensive, yet simple and cost-effective Manager Platform for managers to drive world class engagement in the face of the many challenges in today’s work reality. 

The platform uniquely supports managers directly with expert coaching and ongoing support, along with digital access to the most effective, science-based ways to connect with and support their teams. 

  • Our platform grows your managers into their best (leadership) selves and helps them effectively meet their teams’ needs.
  • Your managers grow thriving teams that feel engaged, heard, connected, and motivated to do their best work.
  • Your teams grow your bottom line through better collaboration, boosted innovation, and higher productivity.

Get your free personalized demo today.

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