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The Value of a Good Manager?

People leave managers not companies!

The Value of a Good Manager?

People leave managers not companies!

What’s the value of a good manager? “People leave managers, not companies” is a headline that immediately grabs our attention. Or it should if we’re serious about being good managers. 

In this article we look at the crucial role managers play, and the mounting evidence to support the argument that managers make the difference. But sadly, there’s also much evidence that managers can make the difference for all the wrong reasons.

Regardless of whether we like or dislike our jobs, the relationship between managers and employees is arguably the most critical. Employees who are well managed can forgive many of an organisation’s shortcomings. But when people are badly managed, the result can be stress, reduced efficiency and high staff turnover. When we resign, we often leave poor managers, not the organisation.

In his book: The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilised Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, Stanford Professor Bob Sutton spells out the damage poor managers can do to workplace morale and efficiency.

This article elaborates on his theme. It highlights the importance of the relationship between staff and management in maintaining workplace harmony and productivity. Surely the critical test of any good manager!

The Most Disliked Aspect Of A Job?

This section heading comes from an article based on research carried out by Gallup. Put simply, their findings revealed that employees leave managers, not companies. Worse still for the manager, one in six respondents identified their manager or supervisor as the most disliked aspect of their job. That’s right the most disliked!

In another survey, Gallup asked employees about their happiness when spending time with other people. Unsurprisingly, spending time with the boss was the least desirable choice. What then does a good manager do? As ever, start by asking the right questions.

For Staff – What Really Matters?

What would employees like from their managers? Gallup suggests that good management-staff relationships rest on four foundations. Employees would like:

  • Managers who show care, interest and concern for their staff.
  • To know what is expected of them.
  • A role which fits their abilities.
  • Positive feedback and recognition regularly for work well done.

Gallup found that teams rating their managers highly in these four areas also scored highly on productivity and profitability. If this is the case, what are we doing to ensure that managers are developed appropriately?

The wrong things, evidently. Gallup’s findings indicate that organisations often focused on control, co-ordination and correction in their management development. This rather than the care, concern and encouragement elements of management, more highly valued by staff.

For Managers – Do People Want To Work With You?

The Gallup survey raises what should be an obvious point – managers make a critical difference to the workplace. As managers, how we choose to make that difference is up to us. Good management is not a popularity contest, but managers are people too! Nobody wants to come last in the popularity stakes! However these findings are not about popularity, they’re about positive, practical approaches to management.

What do you do next? Take some time to ask yourself: “how do I measure up to Gallup’s “four foundations”? It may be a difficult question to answer, certainly requiring some honest reflection, but certainly one worth asking. Then ask yourself:

  • Do I demonstrate care, concern and interest?
  • Am I clear in talking through what’s expected of my staff?
  • Are people working to their strengths? Do I provide support where staff are stretched? Am I proactive in this?
  • How often do I provide positive feedback and encouragement? It’s far too easy to notice the negative and feedback on this.
  • Am I creating the conditions where people want to work with me?
For Organisations – Do Good Managers Really Matter?

The value of a good manager?If you have responsibility for developing managers, the critical question is “what can you do to ensure your employees want to work with your managers”? Why is this a critical question? Because the Gallup research suggests that good staff/manager relationships are fundamental to staff retention, efficiency and effectiveness. And if this is so, the relationship you have with your managers is equally critical.

Here are some steps to consider:

  • Be a role model for the managers you manage, and for your peers.
  • Appoint carefully: managers really matter. They can do a lot of good, and a lot of damage.
  • Make sure you put development in place that promotes and values effective managers.
  • Review the way managers are developed in your organisation.
  • Do you demonstrate care, concern and encouragement?
One Final Critical Question…..

Peter Drucker tells a story worth including here. He once asked the former head of a very large, world wide organisation:

“What do you look for in placing the right people into the right places in an organisation?”

The old man, who had been famous for doing just that replied:

“I always ask myself, would I want one of my sons to work under that person?”

Become a manager people really want to work with! More inspirational Drucker quotes can be found in our article: Peter Drucker Quotes, or in a “must buy” book for every good manager: The Daily Drucker – 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done.

If you found this article useful or thought provoking, you might like to read What Makes A Happy Company. Or if you really want to realise the value of a good manager, take a look at the practical tips and tools in our companion e-guide: Managers Make the Difference.

Workplace well-being resources

Managers Make the Difference e-guide

For more resources on this topic, take a look at our great-value guides. These include some excellent tools to help your personal development plan. The best-value approach is to buy our Workplace Well-being bundle, available from the store.

We’ve bundled together these five e-guides at half the normal price! Read the guides in this order, and use the tools in each, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your personal development plan. (6 pdf guides, 138 pages, 24 tools, for half price!)

Have a Good Workday (16 pages, 4 tools)
How to be a Happy Manager (15 tips with action checklists)
Workstyle, Lifestyle (31 pages, 5 tools)
Managers Make the Difference (27 pages, 5 tools)
Managing from Strength to Strength (22 pages, 5 tools)
Making Change Personal (22 pages, 5 tools)

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