- Are managers moving into the role of coaches?
- Manager development is often neglected
- Employee recognition can be crucial for business performance
The difference between managers and leaders is an argument going way back, with many believing they’re different roles entirely. Ultimately, while a leader’s job is to be the visionary commanding the ship, it falls to the manager to put the leader’s commands into motion.
Thanks to the business world’s increasing pace of change over the decades, many have come to prioritise flexibility. This has led to a business world that’s more dynamic and agile than ever before. As a result, many believe the manager’s job has become much more than a simple supervisory role.
According to a recent Gallup article, employees today tend to expect their manager to act more like a coach than a boss.
Investing In Manager Development
Regrettably, most companies have a fairly dismal record when it comes to manager development. Fewer than 10% of all managers have the strong view that their performance reviews can help them improve, with less than two-thirds acknowledging a clear understanding of how their performance can impact their chances to achieve higher managerial roles.
When examining the impact employee engagement can have on business outcomes, it becomes clear that managerial investment can be incredibly beneficial.
However, few businesses invest enough, and if it’s these managers that are going to be running the business tomorrow, it’s vital to elevate their leadership abilities today.
What Your Managers Will Need To Help Them Lead In The Future
After a study of over 500 job roles and 300 unique job competencies, Gallup found seven key leadership competencies common amongst managers who were leading high performing teams in flourishing businesses. These were:
- Relationship Building
The best leaders are always successful when it comes to building strong relationships. They can connect well with others, build trust amongst the team, share and inspire ideas, and accomplish some great work.
- People Development
Helping others to develop their strengths is another key aspect of a great manager. Encouragement, coaching, and setting out clear expectations are perfect examples that encourage the development of staff.
- Driving Change
Change is always necessary to keep things fresh. Any good manager will be able to communicate any goals for future change and achieve the vision of the company. It is all too common to find managers who are reluctant to change. However, managers who encourage agility and new ideas are always likely to be more successful going forward.
- Critical Thinking
The best managers are able to seek out information, evaluate it critically, and then solve any problems by applying the knowledge that they’ve just gained. Having a critical thinker in charge of a department can help the business overcome challenges and tackle problems head-on.
- Clear Communication
Clear communication is also key to the role of any good manager. Listening, sharing information, and taking the opinions of others on board are vital skills for any team leader. A manager’s main role is to manage other people, so communicating clearly with everyone is critical.
- Inspiring Others
A great manager will easily motivate any worker and help them reach their goals. By providing positivity, recognition, confidence, and vision, they can influence, motivate, and inspire. Ultimately, a manager is only as good as their team, so inspiring others and motivating them to thrive is the key to success.
The buck ultimately stops with the manager, so accountability is absolutely vital. A good leader will recognise the consequences of any action and hold the performance of themselves or whomever else responsible. A manager needs to be able to look at a situation, understand who is responsible, and deal with it appropriately. It is also vital to remember that accountability works both ways, and managers need to also be able to hold themselves responsible too.
These skills are important for any manager leading a team, and they will be vital when leading the company in the future. There are two important considerations for helping your managers develop these skills: finding and acknowledging your managers’ leadership moments and ensuring they’re provided with the important job experiences they’ll need to help them flourish.
Acknowledging Leadership Moments
A little acknowledgement can go a long way. Another Gallup study into employee recognition found the highest performing employees needed recognition for their efforts to feel valued. Not only that, though, it also sets a precedent and helps others to feel inspired. The best way to reinforce the value of your managers’ leadership competencies is by ultimately acknowledging their leadership moments.
The best way to start is by defining what you consider leadership moments to actually be. This will vary greatly from organisation to organisation, but whatever you set them out to be, you’ll likely find your managers are demonstrating these moments all the time anyway. With acknowledgement and recognition to go along with it, your managers will start feeling a whole new sense of pride.
Provide Leadership Experiences For Your Managers Early On
Investing in mentorship, cross-functional projects, or other key experiences is a great way to provide leadership experiences to learn from. Figure out what kind of experiences will be necessary for future leadership, whether it’s working overseas, dealing with customer complaints, leading product development, and carrying out key experience reviews for managers with high potential.
From there, you can help your managers to recognise moments like these as leadership experiences and coaching them to apply what they’ve learned to help with their growth and development.
Designing A Leadership Strategy That Promotes Success In The Long-Term
All too often, organisations hold back the highest development potential for those in the top echelons of the company. This is often a huge executive oversight and is a considerable risk to the organisation’s long-term sustainability.
Organisations could be prioritising the key experiences and leadership development of their managers. By nurturing them from the very beginning, and you’ll increase not only your options but also your opportunities. You’ll have a much more comprehensive selection of leaders when the next generation makes their way to the top.