Gallup says it’s likely that eight out of 10 of your managers aren’t up to the job.
You read that right. According to the national research firm’s recent State of the American Manager report,
The majority of managers are miscast. According to Gallup research, 18% of current managers have the high talent require of their role, while 82% do not have high talent.
Jim Harter, writing on the Gallup website, says the firm defines talent as the natural capacity for excellence in a given endeavor.
Everyone has talent in some areas, but few have the innate talent to become a great manager, Harter writes. Just one in 10 people have the unique blend of innate characteristics that Gallup has found to be predictors of management excellence.
Another two in 10 have “functioning” talent, meaning they possess some of the required traits but not all and, with the right coaching, can become successful managers. Just under one in five current managers (18%) have high talent, according to Gallup.
Think these numbers apply at your company? Because if they do, you could be in trouble.
That ‘E’ word again
The grim news: A pitiful 35% of U.S. managers overall are engaged in their jobs, according to Gallup. That number rises to 54% among the “high talent” managers Gallup identifies.
If only a third of your managers are engaged, how many of your employees are likely to be?
There’s some real money involved here. Writes Harter: Managers with high talent lead teams that achieve higher employee engagement, higher productivity and higher employee retention rates, and have more engaged customers and 48% higher profitability. They are also more likely to be brand ambassadors for their organization than those with lesser management talent.
And there’s this, again from Gallup: Most organizations are still struggling to improve the morale of their workforces and their performance. There is a root cause: They don’t have enough great managers because they have placed people into the position of manager for the wrong reasons.
Tenure or success in a prior non-manager role, while seemingly equitable reasons on the surface, aren’t the right reasons. Great managers have different natural talents than average or below-average managers. And they continue to improve if their organization sets the right criteria for building a productive culture.
Managers, through their natural talents, their own engagement and their behaviors explain at least 70% of the variance in engagement across teams. Few organizations have enough great managers. And there is no other job that has as much combined influence on American business success or failure as the manager.
So how do you make the right picks?
The top two reasons people become managers? Here’s what Gallup found:
- “I was promoted because I was successful in a previous non-managerial role.”
- “I have a lot of experience and tenure in my company or field.”
Pretty easy to figure out the weaknesses in each of those approaches.
Gallup research indicates five key areas where high-talent managers excel:
- Relationships, and
According to the report, Gallup finds that those five dimensions of manager talent are the greatest predictor of success across different industries and managerial roles.
Here’s the bottom line of the Gallup report: People can learn skills, develop knowledge and gain experience, but they can’t acquire talent — it’s innate. When managers have the right talent for their role, they think and act differently than their peers. They are energized by their work, rarely thinking of it as “work” at all.
And those are the people you’re looking for.