It’s well known that a good manager can make all the difference to a happy and successful workforce. A recent study found that the most important factor for employees’ engagement and productivity is managers. Being a manager is often demanding and challenging as superior teams are crafted by skilled managers. But the right manager can make a significant difference to the productivity of teams. Just how big? The number hovers around 70%, proving that companies need to invest in managers and management training.
MTD training asked UK managers how they felt about their leadership skills and assessed which qualities people felt comfortable with and which needed improvement. Respondents were asked to rank themselves against 12 elements listed as leadership competencies. The extensive questionnaire covered just under 100 questions to give MTD a comprehensive overview of how managers saw themselves and how comfortable they were with the core tenets of quality leadership.
Scoring 80/100, communication topped the leader board of leadership qualities managers felt confident in. It can’t be doubted that communication is an essential skill for managers, so it was great to see when asked about open lines of communication within teams, respondents gave an average rating of 8.4/10. Although communication is important, successful communication can be difficult to get right, we’re not just talking about ‘talking’. Managers highly skilled with the ability to communicate bring the skill to other areas like empowering employees, supporting development, creating an inclusive environment, fostering collaboration, and so much more. It’s an invaluable skill that not always easy to come by.
When asked about processes and whether managers are regularly auditing the work of their team, looking at both quality and improvement, the average rating was 6.55. Processes are going to look different in every workplace but a good manager will have the ability to develop and improve them, wherever they are. Creating processes in a collaborative fashion is often the secret to ensuring that they’re followed and reinforced, rather than implementing rigid systems that may not work for some members of the team. Furthermore, processes help employees as structure is often comforting, like knowing that there’s time set aside every fortnight for a one-on-one catch-up with the manager.
A key aspect of great management is people development, which came in with an average score of 73 out of a possible 100. Helping employees develop is a skill not everyone has, but the good news is, it can be taught. A lot of employees look to both their peers and managerial figures to improve their resource management and communication skills for example. However, it is much harder to observe how people aid others in development. Additional training may be required to help develop talent in your organisation. the nature of work is changing, bringing with it a different set of demands for mangers to fulfil if workplaces are serious about attracting and retaining talented employees. Many of these factors (genuine relationships, personal growth, sense of purpose) are impossibly to include in a benefits package, but a great manager can make it a reality.
To gain an advantage in the highly competitive business environment companies must keep pushing forward and invest in their managers. A short-term expense is nothing compared to the long-term benefit of your business’s future. After all, leaders may envision a company’s culture but it’s the managers who have the power to bring it to life.