Don’t Shoot The Manager
In a recent article on the principles of 70:20:10 we could be accused of beating up a lot of managers.
Commenting that ‘the majority of managers are not developing the good stuff’ sounds rather harsh. So where are we coming from – and is it really all the manager’s fault?
The short answer is we’re coming from the many years of experience that tell us that the majority of managers are not doing a great job. Is that the manager’s fault? Well who trained the manager? Who gave them the support to develop great management skills? Who recruited them into a management position? For what reason? Because they were good at sales / production / engineering / delivering?
The majority of managers are under performing in their people management duties – but this is not a criticism of those managers. It is a recognition of where companies have failed these managers in organisational systems, processes and support networks.
Managers not managing well is a finding supported by Gallup’s research, suggesting that only 1 in 10 managers have what it takes to be great . And the fact that employee engagement is very low across industries and countries is a reflection of poor management. Speak to managers and many immediately raise their concerns and requests for guidance. For example we will often hear statements or questions like:
- I’m not sure how to have difficult conversations
- Should I be friends with the team or separate myself?
- How do I balance managing the team with the personal responsibilities I have to deliver work as well?
- I’ve got loads of paperwork I’m supposed to cover with the team, but how do I have a really useful conversation?
- How do I manage underperformers?
- What can I do for the high performers and the high potentials?
So this article is our way of saying we don’t want to shoot the manager – we want to help. If every manager – even those who don’t fall into the magic 1 in 10 Gallup claim are naturals – had more support, what more could we achieve?