Managers as People Leaders
The best managers attract, develop, engage, and retain the best talent (the people side of things) and deliver consistent performance results (the results side of things). To do both, managers need high levels of emotional intelligence and business acumen. Do you have managers who are ready to manage people?
Managers need high emotional intelligence to create a team environment where employees understand the team’s purpose, are actively engaged, and are clear on how what they do contributes to the company’s overall direction. Managers need high business acumen to help their teams to think and act like business owners – to know how your business works, how it makes money, and most importantly for leaders, how specific strategies and decisions impact business results.
Unfortunately, the desire and ability to attract, develop, engage, and retain people is often not well enough considered when high performing individual contributors are promoted to management positions.
Because it usually comes with a higher salary and an increased status, a management job is typically seen as a promotion. That is why so many individual contributors accept the offer to manage people. But many individual contributors are ill-equipped to manage and lead others. Individual contributors often prefer to work on their own in a role where their unique specialized skills are an advantage, not a liability. They are not well suited to leading people because they do not want the responsibility of developing others and they often do they know how.
- Gallup reported that companies select poorly equipped candidates for management over 80% of the time. And bad managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement ratings.
- According to a 12-year Harvard study, almost half the employees with a poorly chosen and ill-prepared manager decreased their work effort intentionally and nearly as many decreased the quality of their work.
Ready to Manage People?
It is not just leaders who need to understand the qualities that make good people managers. It is also the responsibility of new managers to assess their readiness to manage effectively. Certainly, proven new manager training can do a lot to set up a new manager to succeed. Effective training can teach the skills a new manager needs. But companies should also assess the candidate’s competencies, interests, and desire to take on the challenge of leading and managing people.
Company leaders should be clear on what traits are important to build both effective managers and individual contributors. Management roles should not be the only path to better pay and greater prestige. Many companies have different and attractive tracks for people with high levels of technical competence and low levels of people leadership.
Potential New Managers
Potential new managers need to objectively assess their own abilities and desired career path. If you enjoy working with others and helping them reach their potential, make sure you will have the opportunity to develop the business acumen and people leadership skills you now lack so that you are set up to succeed.
The Bottom Line
Ill-suited and ill-prepared managers make everyone’s lives miserable. Are your leaders being thoughtful, objective, and fair in your choice of who to shift into management roles? Poorly managed teams exhibit decreasing morale and declining productivity with a negative impact on the company.
To learn more about if your managers are ready to manage people, download 5 Management Misperceptions that Slip Up Too Many New Managers