A new study reveals where employees feel their managers are coming up short, and what they can to to avoid or overcome the most common causes.
More than a third of employees feel their managers are largely ineffective, according to a new study by Development Dimensions International (DDI). What’s more? Thirty-seven percent of employees claim they’re rarely motivated to do their best as a result of this dynamic.
Where are managers falling short? And what are the best managers in the business doing to overcome the most common obstacles? Here are the top three pitfalls, as revealed by DDI’s study, along with key strategies for overcoming each of them to achieve breakthrough success:
1. It’s business, not personal. Seventy percent of employees insist their manager fails to remain calm and/or provide constructive criticism when a performance issue arises. In fact, only 40% of staffers are able to report their bosses never damages their self-esteem. While it may be difficult to keep your emotions in check at all times, here are three constructive strategies to keep in mind when dealing with a performance issue:
- Praise in public, criticize in private. In a lot of cases, it’s not so much what the manager says, but when and where it’s said that makes the difference. Always keep your comments positive on the office floor. If an issue does arise, schedule time to discuss the problem one-on-one, and always leave the meeting on a positive note.
- Always lead with recognition. This lets employees know you’re in their corner, and you appreciate all the hard work they’re doing. Once it’s clear the two of you are on the same page, it’s much easier to discuss any concerns or opportunities for improvement.
- Empower the employee by enlisting his/her help. It’s an age-old tactic, but it still works wonders. If a veteran staffer is setting a poor example, mention that you “really need [his/her] help” with something. This way, the employee feels like a leader in the office rather than a delinquent charge, and the request sounds more like a solemn plea than a blanket indictment.
2. Feedback is a two-way street. More than half of employees felt their managers fell short in terms of understanding their needs, or soliciting feedback about what might help them do their jobs more effectively.
An equal number of respondents felt management made little or no effort to provide consistent feedback about what staffers were doing well and where they saw areas of opportunity. Best-in-class managers avoid this type of disconnect by ensuring they gain actionable feedback via:
- Quarterly email surveys. These gauge the manager’s effectiveness in a variety of skill areas, while encouraging employees to provide pointed, anonymous criticism regarding any and all obstacles distracting from the task at hand.
- Monthly coaching sessions. These should be obligatory meetings, during which management focuses on sharpening one fundamental skill, while allowing employees a venue for discussing any grievances they might have.
- Quarterly reviews. More than 75% of employees agree managers only feel compelled to give or receive feedback during annual reviews. Going through the review process quarterly allows both parties to address key issues before they evolve into major problems.
3. Avoid playing favorites. The third major obstacle cited in DDI’s study was management catering to a few marquee players, while ignoring the rest of the pack. While it’s true 80% of productivity generally comes from the top 20% of employees, management’s constant goal should be to help each staffer increase his or her contribution. Consider it this way: If every employee improves his or her results by as little as 5%, you’ll have a happier, more driven team, and the company’ll see a significant jump in productivity.