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Why Manager Development Is a Top Goal for Leaders This Year

Why Manager Development Is a Top Goal for Leaders This Year

by Adam Hickman

Story Highlights

  • Leaders' goals should include better development for their management team
  • Managers have the most influence on employee engagement and productivity
  • The right kind of manager development will generate returns

As you write your 2020 leadership goals, keep this fact in mind: It's all about the manager.

Why? Because an investment in your company's management team can solve a major part of your human capital and culture issues.

Managers have a disproportionate impact on organizational outcomes -- they influence at least 70% of your employees' engagement. And teams that have talented managers realize a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity and a 30% increase in employee engagement scores.

On the whole, employees say that the quality of their manager is more important than their compensation.

While overall compensation is still important to younger employees, for nearly half, it falls below the quality of their manager, opportunities to learn and advance, and having interesting work.

So, hiring and developing excellent managers looks to be the most important thing that leaders can do this year -- but they need to do it right. Currently, managers aren't getting the development they need to improve employee engagement.

Despite a good amount of learning opportunities for managers, employee engagement in the workplace has stalled -- leaving 85% of global employees either not engaged or actively disengaged at work.

Because employee engagement affects performance, retention, productivity and more, you'll need to move manager development to the top of your goals to see organic growth at your company.

So, what's the best way to invest in your managers?

Recently, Gallup talked to over 50,000 managers about their development to discover what they think about their learning opportunities and how organizations might be missing the mark.

Managers are 19% more likely than individual contributors to strongly agree that they have the skills to do their best work, and they are 17% more likely to strongly agree that their skills and experience are fully utilized in their organization.

But despite this special attention, Gallup finds that organizations have a long way to go when it comes to developing managers:

  • Only slightly more than a third of managers strongly agree that they have had opportunities at work to learn and grow in the past year.
  • Thirty-six percent of managers do not fully believe they have the skills they need to do their best work.
  • Sixty-five percent of managers do not strongly agree that they understand how their performance affects their opportunities for promotion.

Leaders may think they are doing a lot to develop their managers, but these numbers indicate that their investments in manager programs may not be getting them the returns they want.

Gallup has discovered that development programs often aren't integrated with the realities of the workplace. Managers aren't learning and growing on the job; they aren't getting the real-life experience they need to improve relationships with their employees.

Managers need to understand how their role affects every employee's experience with your company if you want them to improve it. They also need space and time to learn best practices from their peers. And they need more frequent conversations with their own boss about their future with the organization.

Developing your management team is a goal that every leader needs to have this year. It's 2020, and it's the year to develop managers -- and improve your entire organization in return.

Learn more about Gallup's recommendations for developing your managers:

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