skip to main content
CliftonStrengths
The Best Way to Develop Managers
CliftonStrengths

The Best Way to Develop Managers

by Vanessa A. Camilleri, Ph.D.

Story Highlights

There's only one thing we know for sure about 2021: It will show us what we're made of.

Changes and challenges expose every strength and weakness, especially in managers.

The role is uniquely influential -- and teams with highly talented managers achieve 48% higher profitability, 22% greater productivity and 30% better employee engagement scores, Gallup finds, than do teams with less talented managers.

Here's the problem: Most companies don't select highly talented managers.

Indeed, Gallup research shows that 82% of the time, managers are selected for the wrong reasons -- tenure, success in another role -- rather than the ability to manage people well. As a result, whatever management development they receive fails to capitalize on the strengths they bring to the role. That weakens the management ranks and degrades overall business performance.

Most companies don't select highly talented managers. Indeed, Gallup research shows that 82% of the time, managers are selected for the wrong reasons -- tenure, success in another role -- rather than the ability to manage people well.

No company should enter 2021 that way.

To compete in an unpredictable future, businesses need a strong management bench -- and they get it by developing managers the right way.

Effective Manager Development Is Holistic and Uses Strengths

The best way to develop a manager is to develop what's best in the manager.

A Gallup study of 1.2 million employees who received strengths-based interventions found that 90% of the workgroups studied showed 10% to 19% increased sales, 14% to 29% increased profit, and a 9% to 15% increase in employee engagement.

Those key performance indicators don't come from identifying managers' strengths -- they come from identifying and leveraging managers' strengths. That's a long-term, holistic, individualized process, and it's reinforced when leaders:

  1. Orient learning and development programs toward strengths.
  2. Teach managers the fundamentals of strengths-based leadership, performance coaching and engagement.
  3. Use multimodal, experiential, social, actionable, ongoing, relevant, personalized and flexible training courses and offer ongoing, on-demand, on-topic coaching.
  4. Schedule strengths-based conversations with each manager or team lead once a week. There are five kinds of coaching conversations, Gallup finds, that correlate with better performance outcomes.

The success of this approach requires frequent manager-leader conversations. That allows leaders to work with managers to ensure managers' development matches the goals and needs of the company and the manager.

The best way to develop a manager is to develop what's best in the manager.

In addition to ongoing daily, weekly and monthly touchpoints, leaders should meet with managers every six months or so to discover how strongly they agree that this development approach inspires them, changes how they lead, is applicable every day and has substantially improved their performance. Strong agreement indicates genuine development -- and better long-term prospects.

It also indicates a bench of effective managers who can motivate, build relationships, hold people accountable and make good decisions, under any circumstance. Development makes managers chosen for the wrong reasons better -- and managers chosen for the right reasons extraordinary.

The Year Ahead

Leaders should think about that as they enter 2021. We don't know what the year will bring -- but Gallup finds Americans' satisfaction with the direction of the U.S. near historic lows, many economists believe we're not out of the woods yet with this recession, and social scientists suspect we may see more social unrest.

If that dismal forecast proves true, leaders should expect trouble that makes weak spots weaker and strengths work at max. If those predictions are off, as we all hope, businesses are entering a year of enormous opportunities. Either way, organizational success in 2021 will depend largely on managers -- and they're going to show us what their companies are made of.

Develop your managers the right way:

Author(s)

Vanessa A. Camilleri, Ph.D., is a Senior Learning and Design Consultant at Gallup.

Jennifer Robison contributed to this article.


Gallup https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/327803/best-develop-managers.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030