Capp’s five-step approach to strengths-based recruitment

Click here to find out more about how Strengths Selector can solve your recruitment challenges...

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:


 Subscribe in a reader

April 2018
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Ideal Manager Survey

Three Things Organisations Must Fix Before Performance Management Will Work

Posted by: Emma Trenier, Senior Psychologist, Capp

 

When we’re working with organisations to develop line manager performance management capability, we often need to tackle wider issues first.

 

Here are the three most common challenges that organisations must address in order for a renewed focus on performance management to succeed.

 

1.      Trust must trump suspicion

 

We don’t live in a trusting culture. The norm is not to trust but to establish fault and blame.

 

One organisation I recently worked with spoke of how Twitter has become a management weapon. Every time negative customer feedback is tweeted, managers go and find who is to blame - trusting the public but not trusting their teams.

 

Last year’s Where has all the trust gone? report from the CIPD describes how line managers are the first port of call for building organisational trust which is essential when employees are expected to take risks or walk into the unknown. They do this best by demonstrating their consistent ability, benevolence, integrity and predictability.

 

A performance management approach that demonstrates a lack of trust, e.g., focusing on fault finding, models a lack of transparency, will jeopardise vital trust building.

 

2.      Individuals must be working on the right things

 

Then, presuming trust prevails, for performance management to be a successful process, people must be working towards the right goals, i.e., those that best serve the purpose and mission of the organisation.

 

I take the example of Accenture’s recent Why ‘Low Risk’ Innovation is Costly report. This explains that despite technology companies’ increased funding for innovation, only 13 per cent of executives believe their companies’ innovation initiatives deliver a competitive advantage.

 

One of the main reasons is that companies focus on low risk activities such as extending existing product lines, rather than pursuing new products and breakthroughs.

 

In a situation such as this, an executive may be seen to be high performing through demonstrating the right behaviours and achieving her quarterly objectives. However, if she is working on the ‘wrong’ things (in this case ‘low risk’ innovation) then the genuine line between individual and organisational performance is broken.

 

3.      Managers must be motivated to manage

 

Finally, to bring out the best in each employee, managers must be motivated to manage performance.

 

This sounds obvious, but often while managers are competent, successful, technical experts, they are not always motivated to manage performance.

 

Capp’s 2012 Ideal Manager Survey showed that employees believed the best managers were both competent and deeply motivated to provide mission and purpose, enabling others to grow in skills and self-esteem, and taking ownership for leading their teams with humility.

 

Recruiting managers with the right strengths and supporting them to stay engaged isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s a pre-requisite for building a high performing organisation.

 

What is your experience? What other pre-requisites do you think exist for successful performance management?

 

Share and Enjoy

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Mission: Good Management

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

Do you know what it takes to be an ideal manager? Thanks to our Ideal Manager Survey, at Capp we do. Edge magazine, from the Institute of Leadership and Management, has just published coverage of Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey, showing that:

 

“Managers need humility, a clear sense of mission and personal responsibility to succeed, according to research from Capp entitled ‘the Ideal Manager Survey’. Emma Trenier, Consulting Psychologist at Capp, explores why having a clear vision is so important…”

 

Find out more about the strengths that it takes to be an ideal manager from the full article, available at Edge Online.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Don’t Panic! Managers Don’t Need to be Perfect

Posted by: Emma Trenier & Dr. Sue Harrington

 

Don’t panic! Employees don’t expect their managers to be incredible at everything.

 

Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey revealed that there are four strengths that employees consider to be only ‘slightly important’ for their managers:

  • Adherence: Sticking to guidelines and best practice templates as required;
  • Detail: Ensuring they do not make small errors or mistakes in their work;
  • Order: Being very organised with a place for everything;
  • Change Agent: Being involved in bringing about change.

 

Three of these unpopular manager strengths – Adherence, Detail and Order – sit within the ‘Thinking’ strengths family. It is interesting to see this pattern, but why might employees think they are less important than the rest?

 

  • ‘Acceptable’ weaknesses: Over 50,000 people have now taken Realise2, Capp’s flagship strengths assessment tool, and we see that Adherence, Detail and Order are frequently reported as weaknesses – more so than the vast majority of the other 60 strengths measured by Realise2. Perhaps, as a result, employees perceive      these as ‘acceptable weaknesses’ in managers?

 

  • The flip side of relating: Alternatively, employees may perceive these three thinking strengths as the flip side of the relating strengths, such as Enabler and Esteem Builder that are rated as most important in a manager. Perhaps the reduced importance of paying attention to details and adhering to guidelines reflects the relatively higher value and weighting placed on managers’ relating strengths?

 

  • Team member roles: Another possibility is that employees do not see these as critical roles for managers – perhaps the roles that require strengths of Adherence, Detail and Order sit with team members rather than managers?

 

And what of Change Agent? Perhaps employees value stability and consistency from managers, over and above their ability to be constantly bringing about change.

 

So, as a manager, if these four are not your strengths, and you think they might be tripping you up – even though your employees won’t necessarily be expecting them of you – what can you do?

 

  • Check impact: Check the impact of your lack of fervor in these areas by asking:
    • Do I waste my team’s time by constantly changing parameters?
    • Do I lower standards by not focusing enough on detail?
    • Does my lack of ability to organise my tasks effectively frustrate others?
    • Do I cause anxiety within my team by championing and pushing through change too fast, rather than taking my team with me?

 

  • Use your strengths to compensate: Consider how you might use your strengths to help you look at each of these issues afresh. You might also consider seeking complementary strengths from your team to polish up your approach!

 

  • Play to the strengths you do have: Finally, know that your employees value these strengths in their manager less than all others. The best advice you can take is to play to the strengths that you do have to enable you and your team to reach your goals.

 

Download Capp’s Performance Manager White Paper to find out more about what people want from their managers.

 

 

Share and Enjoy

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Why Men Want a Manager Who is Competitive

Posted by: Nicky Garcea & Emma Trenier

 

At a time when organisations are often reluctant to provide gender-differentiated development, it is interesting to see some notable differences between men and women in their responses to the Capp Ideal Manager Survey.

 

Our Ideal Manager Survey showed that men consistently seek one strength from their managers more than women do. This one strength is Competitive.

 

So why might men want to work for a manager strong in Competitive? Multiple gender studies show that men like to compete, they are confident in their ability to compete, they are less risk averse and less sensitive to critical feedback than their female colleagues.

 

Researchers seeking to support a ‘nature’ argument for why men are competitive offer suggestions relating to evolutionary studies. One such researcher is Harvard Professor Harvey Mansfield.

 

In his book Manliness, Mansfield states that men are innately better equipped to be aggressive and compete. In contrast, women are seen as having an innate ability to empathise and communicate.

 

Supporters of the ‘nurture’ debate show that women are most frequently taught to cooperate whereas men (often through their involvement in sport) are encouraged to compete from a young age. Evidently both arguments are controversial and inconclusive.

 

The interesting question for us, however, is what our male direct reports hope to gain from this strength.

 

When asked this question, men state that they hope their manager’s strength in Competitive will result in the following:

 

1. Working for a winning team – managers with Competitive are described as managers who like to win and develop winning teams. This idea of working for a winning team is described by men as providing a greater sense of accomplishment and job security.

 

2. Clear direction and contribution – managers with Competitive are thought to provide a clear sense of how the contributions of their direct reports relate to the overall business success.

 

3. Contagious success – working for a manager with Competitive is believed to offer more opportunities for profile raising and recognition. Being associated with a successful manager is considered to enhance an individual’s positive reputation.

 

4. Greater investment – managers with a strength in Competitive will categorically agree that ‘losing hurts’. The determination, therefore, to win and succeed can mean that managers invest heavily in the success of their teams and their direct reports.

 

5. More opportunities – in a business context success often breeds opportunity. This might come in the form of new and interesting projects or the chance to be involved in creating a successful product or launch.

 

All strengths can be overplayed and the manager with Competitive who takes this to the extreme might be described as ‘focused on nothing but winning, creating unhelpful internal rivalry between individuals and teams and distracted by their own success.’

 

Guiding and applying the strength of Competitive in service of winning the ‘right things’ is perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn here.

 

At a time when manager research often concludes that managers need to be emotionally intelligent and demonstrate ‘soft skills’, this research provides a useful reminder that there are always other lenses which can be applied to how managers can lead. There is certainly not just one way to manage.

 

Download Capp’s Performance Manager White Paper to find out more about what people want from their managers.

 

You can also read more about what women want from their managers in Nicky Garcea and Emma Trenier’s recent blog, published on Changeboard.

 

 

Share and Enjoy

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Managing Generation Y? What Do They Want From You as Their Manager?

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas & Emma Trenier

 

It’s pitched as a strap line on the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ (AGR) website: Attracting and retaining the cream of the nation’s graduate talent is getting harder and you need all the help you can get”. And they are absolutely right.

 

The growing research about Generation Y echoes this, where today’s younger employees are achievement-oriented and hungry for challenge and meaning in their work. As organisations compete for available talent, employers cannot ignore the needs, desires and attitudes of this emerging generation.

 

Over a four month period, 1180 people took Capp’s online Ideal Manager Survey, where employees across all ages, genders and backgrounds answered questions about whether anyone can be a good manager.

 

Fascinatingly, the results reported by younger employees revealed specific strengths that they want most in their managers. These include:

 

  • Work Ethic: Younger employees value managers who role-model working hard, putting a lot of effort into everything that they do;
  • Resolver: Solving challenging problems is a strength that younger employees feel is important for managers to demonstrate;
  • Spotlight: Managers who demonstrate a love of being the centre of other people’s attention are valued highly amongst younger employees;
  • Detail: Conscientiously focusing on the small things to ensure everything is accurate and error-free is important for managers to demonstrate to younger employees.

 

These strengths paint a picture of a Generation Y that is strongly inspired and driven by managers who work hard and make high quality contributions, showcasing their knowledge and talents, whilst all the time ensuring accuracy and high standards.

 

So as employers and managers, how can we fulfil the needs of our younger employees, and thereby retain their engagement and talent? Below are five top tips:

 

1. Be a role model of working hard, meaningfully: As the saying goes, “work hard, play hard”. Demonstrate a healthy level of work ethic towards meaningful goals. Bring employees on board and get them involved in specific strategic goals by helping them see where their best contribution lies.

 

2. Ensure you resolve challenging issues: Identify problems or challenges that may be impacting on younger employees and/or your team more widely. Support younger employees to develop confidence and autonomy to resolve challenges successfully themselves too.

 

3. Provide exposure to different audiences: Identify opportunities for raising awareness about your team’s contributions in the spirit of knowledge management.  Find opportunities for younger employees to do the same through developing new connections for them, seeking speaking opportunities, or writing about their work through emails, articles or blogs.

 

4. Exemplify high quality work: Reflect on ways in which you can use your strengths to promote quality and accuracy as a manager in all your work and interactions. In addition, if younger employees are demonstrating other positive behaviours, then encourage and affirm these.

 

5. Adopt strengths-based team working: Identify how younger employees could partner with other members of the team, so that they complement each other’s strengths on a particular task or project. This is a powerful way of collaborating.

 

So starting from today, how will you adapt your management style to inspire the talent and engagement of your younger employees?

 

Download Capp’s Performance Manager White Paper to find out more about what people want from their managers.

 

 

Share and Enjoy

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

What Do Employees Want from Their Managers?

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas & Emma Trenier

 

Whatever our role or level in an organisation, we all have high expectations of our bosses. In particular, we want them to understand our strengths and preferences and tailor their approach to our needs – this came across loud and clear from the 1180 respondents in Capp’s recent Ideal Manager Survey.

 

We also place enormous value in this relationship working positively for us – a miserable, ineffective relationship with their line manager is the most common reason behind an employee’s decision to leave a company.

 

The results of Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey showed that 90% of employees disagreed that all managers should manage in the same way. This appreciation of diverse management styles was also shown in the breadth and range of strengths which employees thought were important for their managers.

 

Notwithstanding this, we see that employees most commonly want their managers to have the following strengths:

 

  • Mission: Providing a sense of meaning and purpose, always working towards a longer-term goal;

 

  • Enabler: Focused on creating the right conditions for people to grow and develop for themselves;

 

  • Personal Responsibility:  Taking ownership of their decisions and holding themselves accountable for what they do;

 

  • Humility: Happy for others to share the credit for their team’s successes;

 

  • Esteem Builder: Able to help people believe in themselves and see what they are capable of achieving.

 

Do any of these strengths surprise you? Perhaps not, as this simple profile paints a picture of a trusted individual who leads through a combination of clear vision, personal commitment and a focus on developing others.

 

How can you develop these characteristics within your management style? Here are our five top tips:

 

  • Create a sense of purpose: Understand what drives each of your team members and gives them a sense of meaning in their work. As you delegate work, help individuals to see how it relates to this wider sense of meaning. In practice: this means spending time talking about context before focusing on detail.

 

  • Role model responsibility:  If you want your team to develop their personal responsibility, choose a handful of areas in which you will actively demonstrate how you do this yourself. In practice: as well as taking responsibility yourself, take responsibility for training your team to do the same.

 

  • Share successes: Recognise the culture and climate that you want to build within your team.  If it is one of shared ownership and collaboration, then seek to share team successes in ways that credentialise others. In practice: share credit with others in a range of ways including public praise, copying senior managers into positive feedback emails, and thanking individuals one to one.

 

  • Give specific positive feedback: Think about providing positive feedback just as carefully as giving ‘constructive’ feedback. Let people know what they have done well and what you would like them to keep doing. In practice: give specific, targeted feedback, along with evidence, when you see great work.

 

  • Set your team up to succeed: Find opportunities to stretch each person in your team and provide the autonomy for them to take full ownership. In practice: identify each person’s strengths so that you align opportunities to these strengths and can be sure the opportunity will provide a positive stretch.

 

By managing in this way, you’ll be taking important to steps to delivering your employees what they want, in turn helping you to deliver the performance you need.

 

Download Capp’s Performance Manager White Paper to find out more about what people want from their managers.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS