March Madness recently dominated conversations in the office and probably in yours, too. As we filled out brackets, we discussed the chances for success of our favorite teams and which had the better coach to lead them to the ultimate win. Whether you’re trying to make it to the Final Four or trying to reach a sales or other performance goal, team leadership t is crucial. All managers and coaches need to set priorities and manage tasks, but the great ones are able to go beyond that to build trust and motivate. This is the essence of coaching. This is also the essence of management development.
Like coaches, most managers have been promoted to the role after being part of a team in their company. The best individual performers stand out and level up, but the skills that made them great players/contributors don’t always serve them well as a manager/coach. According to Gallup, organizations fail to choose a candidate with the right talent for the manager job a staggering 82% of the time. Standout stars may not possess the wherewithal to uplift, mentor, and foster unity among a team of direct supervisees. But these are the skills that are so necessary for successful front-line management.
Blocks to better management development – how do you get the win?
Front-line managers manage people. What may seem so obvious about the core responsibility of front-line managers is often overlooked in management development, however. A prior history of breaking field goal records or exceeding sales goals simply does not always equip a leader to lead. One area to begin empowering coaches and managers to lead people better is by taking a look at their level of engagement.
Gallup studies report that 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged and usually, these employees are looking for reasons to be. Engaged teams are teams who care about the future of the company, how they can be a part of it and how they can be personally and professionally fulfilled by their job.
What does it look like for a manager who drives engagement? They support the weight of inspiring team performance. Leading their team to a win should come easy when managers:
- Establish clear expectations with their team for performance development.
- Continually coach by giving constructive feedback and giving team members the opportunity to share their own feedback.
- Create accountability so senior leaders and team members can measure results.
With these focuses in play, manager/employee interactions feel more encouraging, purposeful and rewarding. The emphasis in all of this needs to be consistency. Engagement doesn’t happen overnight. Most managers only coach employees when they encounter a recurring performance problem, such as missed deadlines or poor work quality, or a behavior issue, such as a bad attitude toward customers or coworkers. Managers need to tear a page out of coaches’ playbook who put their teams through hours of practice so they can improve their skills on the court before the next big game. Managers should ensure performance conversations are frequent, constructive and future-oriented.
Putting learned skills into practice will help managers become an effective coach for their team and lower that 70% engagement statistic cited above. Engaged team members make for stronger performance development and help the organization grow as a whole.
The ManagementPlus solution focuses on engagement by empowering better management development. A huge benefit from ManagementPlus is helping managers apply this knowledge on the job and close that learning-doing gap. Want to learn more? Download our Coach for Performance guide.