The Difference Between a Great Manager and an “Okay” Manager

April 14, 2015  |   General
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managerAccording to a report from gallup.com, “managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement…”.  With a March 2015 survey discovering that only 32.9% of employees are engaged at work, clearly management has a dramatic impact on employee engagement and work productivity. In this issue of Astronology, we look into the characteristics needed to define great management versus mediocre management.

As discussed in our first Astronology article of 2015, there are various areas that managers can target to improve employee engagement. Those highlighted areas were the following:

  • Goal Setting
  • Communication
  • Promotion of Work / Life Balance

Targeting these areas can be the start of attacking a bigger issue for managers…manager engagement. An April 2015 Gallup report stated that although 54% of managers with high talent are engaged at work, just 35% of all U.S. managers are engaged in their work and workplaces. 51% of U.S. managers are not engaged…and 14% are actively disengaged.

Ultimately, the difference between a great manager and an “okay” manager is leadership quality. The April Gallup report discovers that the talent of being a great manager is found in one out of 10 people, while another two in 10 possess a basic talent for management. With training and coaching, these abilities can be heightened. The talents Gallup observed in great managers are the following:

  • Ability to motivate every employee to take action via engagement
  • Assertiveness in driving outcomes and overcoming adversity & resistance
  • Create a culture of accountability
  • Build working relationships that create trust, open communication, and full transparency
  • Make decisions based on productivity…not office politics

Many other articles support these observations. John Kotter, Konosuke Matsushita professor of Leadership at Harvard University expressed, “Management is a set of processes that keep an organization functioning. They make it work today – they make it hit this quarter’s numbers. The processes are about planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance, and problem-solving when results did not go to plan.” All of these are processes are necessary in order to get an organization functioning.  However, the qualities to lead, to be a great manager, involve “aligning people to the vision, that means buy-in and communication, motivation and inspiration.” An inc.com article listed the following similar nine qualities that define great leadership:

  • Awareness
  • Decisiveness
  • Empathy
  • Accountability
  • Confidence
  • Optimism
  • Honesty
  • Focus
  • Inspiration

Similar qualities were mentioned in a Houston Chronicle online article. If one in 10 people possess these qualities, there is a strong possibility right now in work groups and in various sections in organizations that great managers, great leaders, are literally waiting to be cultivated. Have you recently identified these qualities in your managers? Do you see potential in certain workers? How does your organization cultivate leaders? Write to Astronology with your thoughts!

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