COMPANY HEART CARE

Managers may be the heart of a company but how good is their health?  According to Gallup, which tracked more than 50,000 managers between 2014 and this year, not that well.

Gallup’s five-year study, which asked over 500 questions, concluded that there were as many downsides, if not more, among managers, than plusses.  The bottom line is that Gallup reported that there’s a lot of room for improvement.

The top five challenges Gallup discovered were 

1.    Unclear expectations 

2.    Heavy workloads, as well as distractions

3.    Frustration and stress 

4.    Little focus on manager strengths

5.    Discouraging performance reviews 

What they did like was their autonomy in pursuing goals and that their opinions seemed appreciated.

UNCLEAR EXPECTATIONS

Nearly half – 42% said they have numerous and sometimes conflicting priorities.  Regular communication with managers in discussing priorities, roadblocks and successes would be helpful.

HEAVY WORKLOADS

Managers said they average 49 hours of work per week.  30% reported having numerous interruptions while 21% indicated that they simply have too much to do.

In response, some companies now permit managers to work from home a few hours a week to allow for uninterrupted time to think and plan.  Managers should also be coached on how to inform employees about expectations regarding their availability.

FRUSTRATION AND STRESS

37% of managers said they felt stressed most of the time at work while more than a third, 34% reported that work demands interfered with family life.  Companies could help by putting together a wellbeing program and manager support groups.

MANAGER STRENGTHS

Surveyed managers recognize that much of their success comes from the efforts of others.  As such, they acknowledge that they spend a lot of time concentrating on the staff they care about.  Senior staff could ask these managers to do a self-assessment on how they might use their self-identified strengths to achieve their goals. 

DISCOURAGING PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

Whether anyone agrees or disagrees with the results, the most alarming piece to come out of Gallup’s study of managers is that only 8% said their performance reviews motivated  them to get better.  And only 2% felt the reviews were accurate.  A common remark was why waste time on reviews that distress and discourage managers if nothing is being done to help them get better at what they’re charged to do.

RX

How a workforce responds and is motivated depends in large part on their managers.  If managers are the heart of most companies and the corporate cardiac health isn’t very good, what’s the remedy?

Leaders must first be more selective in hiring managers who have the capacity and skills to lead They also need to provide better support to current managers by providing ongoing learning opportunities for them to better understand their roles as well as how to hone their leadership skills.  Finally, they should plan to give constructive feedback on a weekly or regular basis that is meaningful, that builds on their strengths, and shore up any weaknesses.