Bookmark and ShareShare
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nothing Fixes a Bad Manager

Companies seem to try everything imaginable to fix their workplaces, except the only thing that matters: Naming the right person manager.

Leaders go to seminars, hire consultants, and employ a long list of interventions -- competencies, 360s, and so forth. I don’t think any of them work. What’s worse, nobody really cares that they don’t work.

Most CEOs I know honestly don’t care about employees or take an interest in human resources. Sure, they know who their stars are -- but it ends there. Since the people in the corner offices don’t care, they never put much pressure on their HR departments to get their workplace cultures right, and this allows HR to implement all kinds of development and succession strategies that don’t work. 

The results of this indifference and ineffectiveness have become significant. Gallup reported in two large-scale studies that only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, and a staggeringly low 13% worldwide are engaged. Worse, over the past 12 years, these low numbers have barely budged, meaning that the vast majority of employees worldwide are failing to develop and contribute at work.

Why is that? Gallup estimates that managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement scores across business units. When managers have real management talent, workgroups develop and win customers. When managers don’t have that talent, human development freezes and workgroups fail.

Now, here’s a truly frightening number Gallup has uncovered: Companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time. Those companies are wasting time and resources attempting to train bad managers to be who they're not. Nothing fixes the wrong pick.

There’s a reason for this -- authentic management talent is very rare. Gallup research shows that just one in 10 have the natural, God-given talent to manage. Those gifted people know how to motivate every individual on their team; boldly review performance; build relationships; overcome adversity; and make decisions based on productivity, not politics. A manager with no real talent for the job will deal with workplace problems through manipulation and unhelpful office politics, because they lack the inner personal courage required to manage teams effectively.

Gallup also found that another two in 10 people have some characteristics of basic managerial talent and can function at a high level if their company coaches and supports them.

The fact is, rare management talent exists in your company right now -- it’s hiding in plain sight. Companies that use predictive testing analytics to find that talent will have the biggest advantage in the global war for the best customers.


Paul said...
April 30, 2014 at 1:20 PM  

This is a truly excellent post. I wish more executives spoke with this level of clarity. Bad Managers lack courage. Bad Managers create manipulation and drama around it to make up for leading. wow, what an incredible challenge to issue.

Anonymous said...
April 30, 2014 at 2:34 PM  

This is so true. We have inherited some managers from an integration, and it is just horrible. They have never managed people before and are a puppet to the President. It is either their way or no way. There is no room for negotiation. It is sad that there are so many talented people who are now beaten down and have lost all their enthusiam and creativity.

Roadside Memoirs said...
May 1, 2014 at 7:51 AM  

I was about to share this on LinkedIn, but found no button for LinkedIn- which may well be the very best forum in which to have Jim ' s blogs shared. Could you add the link? Thanks!

Anonymous said...
May 13, 2014 at 4:34 PM  

Once again my theory holds true- as long as we seek "managers" instead of "leaders", success will slip through our fingers.....

Anonymous said...
June 17, 2014 at 8:49 PM  

Good article. I know I wouldn't do well as a manager, due to my personality. However, I hope I can always have a manager who recognizes my gifts and doesn't put me down for not having managerial gifts.

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated by Gallup and may not appear on this blog until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting.

Copyright © 2010 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved. | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement