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May 2013
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Are You a Good Performance Manager?

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas, Consulting Psychologist, Capp


“People leave managers not companies” – You have more than likely heard this said before, but the statistics behind it are quite staggering.


A Gallup poll of more than 1 million employees concluded that the number one reason people quit their jobs is a poor manager or immediate supervisor. The results also showed that poorly managed teams are on average 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed teams.


The results of a recent national survey also showed that 80% of employees who were very dissatisfied with their immediate supervisor were disengaged, and that 62% of engaged employees say their manager sets a good example, compared to 25% of people who are not fully engaged.


What are the reasons for these dismally low levels of engaged employees?


People Have Changed


Employee expectations have changed. It’s not just Gen Y – employees everywhere and of every generation expect more: more involvement, more accountability, and more recognition. When it comes to managing their performance, employees have shifted from being passive recipients to active agents.


Managers have changed too. Command and control is no longer cutting it – managers are expected to guide and coach, provide balanced, constructive feedback, and inspire people to achieve great things, rather than just to enforce performance standards.


Reassuringly, research by CIPD shows that when managers do get it right, many good results follow:

  • 25% increase in employee performance
  • 40% higher employee engagement
  • 18% growth in customer loyalty
  • 25% decrease in employee turnover
  • In the NHS, 1090 fewer deaths per 100,000 patient admissions.


Is Your Organisation Managing Performance in the Right Ways?


So how can your organisation develop the kind of managers that engage and inspire employees?


Through Capp’s 2012 Ideal Manager Survey and our work with highly engaged employees, we have identified 8 core questions to help you identify whether managers in your organisation are driving high performance in the right ways:


1. Are managers in your organisation skilled at identifying the strengths of their team members and managing high performance through these strengths?


Research by the Corporate Leadership Council in 2002 revealed that when managers focus on the strengths of employees, performance is likely to increase by 36%. Whereas when they focused on their weaknesses, performance decreased by 26%.


2. Are managers effective at building trusting, open and two-way relationships with their direct reports?


Research by the CIPD in 2012 showed that trust in a line manager is more important than trust in senior leaders or the organisation during times of difficulty and change.


3. Do managers develop better solutions through harnessing the diversity of their teams?


90% of respondents to Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey disagreed that all managers should manage in the same way, and instead, would develop better outcomes through harnessing the diversity of their teams.


4. Do managers in your organisation lead others with a sense of meaning and purpose?


99% of Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey respondents rated Mission as the most important and desired strength in their managers – managers that would engage them with a compelling vision, meaning and purpose, and authenticity.


5. Do managers in your organisation use effective delegation in order to play to the strengths of their team members?


Strengths-based delegation has become known to be a manager’s core tool for translating organisational strategy first into team goals, and then into each individual’s objectives, in a way that engages and plays to each individual’s strengths.


6. Do managers in your organisation provide regular positive and constructive feedback to their team members?


When researchers investigated the drivers of high performance amongst 19,187 employees in 34 organisations, they discovered that the top driver of performance was giving fair, informal, and accurate feedback – and not waiting for the dreaded annual performance review.


7. Do managers in your organisation coach their team to encourage daily progress and longer term career development?


The evidence shows that the crux of motivation is actually day-to-day productivity, as well as being able to see a path for career progression. As such, job satisfaction typically results from being productive towards one’s day-to-day goals, as well as one’s intrinsic goals for the future.


8. Do your managers build resilience and manage change and uncertainty effectively?


Capp’s recent research with leaders nominated as being ‘wise’ across dozens of blue-chip companies revealed that employees develop change readiness, agility and resilience when their leaders and managers manage change and uncertainty effectively and with confidence.


We know that many people are first promoted into management for their strong “technical skills” – solid knowledge of their own business. But that’s only part of the managerial equation; everyone has his or her strengths and weaknesses. It’s worth reflecting on the way that you use these to engage your people.


What other skills do you think are important to engage employees for high performance? Share your thoughts using the Comment function below.

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