How do you grow your organization faster and more profitably? How do you get the right things done at the right time in the right way? Is there a way of knowing if it’s the right way? Everyone I talk with wants to talk about developing better leaders, few want to talk about the critical skill of empowering their managers. They tell me that what they need are more powerful leaders on their teams.
When you talk with their teams, most tell you it is difficult to get things done because their leaders seems to make decisions based on the new management book or trend. Few leaders are capable of developing the managers they need to align and implement their business with the strategies they develop. Much of today’s leadership thinking is about how to be a better leader, if we lead well enough the organization will get on board.
The reality today is over 70% of your employees do not feel connected to their managers. The news may be worse than that. Over 20% are in outward rebellion towards your current strategies and goals. Despite these facts, business continues to roll around looking for simple answers when they might be better to off searching for the root cause of the problem. Over the past 10 years, millions of middle managers have lost their jobs. They are told that technology has made them obsolete. Senior leaders are many times collecting huge bonuses while their workforce continues to be destroyed and demoralized. I don’t have a problem being paid for the value you create, but when you’re compensated more for reducing headcount than creating new value to the customer, it becomes challenging to stand by.
I’ve been a business manager for over thirty years, helping take my first business public at age 24. I have discovered that many managers continue to get promoted to roles that are beyond their capabilities. Then when they fail, the leadership team lets them go, to be replaced by another manager who has not received the proper training for their new role. These new manages are ill equipped to handle the new responsibilities of their job and they are soon on the hot seat.
Training budgets continue to decrease until morale improves, we’re told. The problem is many smaller and mid-market organizations have not increased their training budgets for years. It’s not the leaders fault completely. They’ve seen their best employees continue to leave and their managers continue to stay on. The managers who stay on continue to toe the company line while their employees continue to become more frustrated and disconnected from their organizations. The best ones leave, because there is always a shortage of good employees in the market and that leaves many challenges for the people who stay.
How do we begin re-empowering our managers? How do we know that our managers are struggling? Is there a solution to this that won’t break the bank? The answer is yes, and heck, yes. If you want to know how well your managers are connected to their teams, ask them to tell you something personal about each person they have reporting to them. I think you may be surprised how little they know about the people they depend on to get results.
I’m not going to let you off the hook either. How much do you know about your direct reports? When is their daughter graduating from high school? When is their wedding anniversary? When was the last time you did something for your own team of direct reports? Do you publicly recognize when your person is doing a great job? I hear you screaming at the computer screen, “I don’t have time to engage with all my employees. I hardly have time to get things done now.” I suggest if you spent more time empowering and engaging your employees the easier both your life and theirs would become.
As of today, I’m calling for a revolution, a management revolution. If we are successful, we will again become the best place for our people to work. If we fail, we will not be in business in five years or less. I believe many of you are looking for a solution. I know your employees want to become more engaged in their work again. They want to be the best team on the planet. They want to unleash the next big thing in your markets. They want to help you attract and recruit great members for your organization.
Since we’ve now discussed how both employee and employer want to create something larger than themselves, we know have a foundation for our management revolution. Next week I begin sharing tools that help you become a better manager, coach, and leader. Next week, we help you get the results you want in a way that helps your team reconnect and energizes your team’s efforts. See you next Tuesday.