Effective managers matter. According to Leigh Branham, author of The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, 70 percent of employees leave a job for reasons related to factors that are directly controllable by their managers. Gallup surveys report that work groups that are ineffectively managed are 50 percent less productive and 44 percent less profitable. Managers are a conduit between the executives and the operations-level employees; when they are given the tools to achieve maximum efficiency, the results are profound.

How do people at various levels of an organization view the importance of manager effectiveness?


Warning: contents under pressure! CEOs face pressure to create more profit with fewer resources, to deliver more results in less time, and to meet rising shareholder expectations. What often happens is that the systems CEOs have put in place, or should put in place to support management don’t get the attention they deserve. As a result, unnecessary churn in the organizations results in managers who are spending a majority of their time doing tasks they were not hired to do. Gerald Kraines, CEO of the Levinson Institute at Harvard University, writes that this accounts for well more than 50% of managers’ time.

If a company can increase the effectiveness of its managers by 20 to 30 percent, there will be a resulting increase in organizational effectiveness. In a 1,000-person company, this is the equivalent to hiring 200 to 300 new people. The impact of enabling managers to do what they should be doing can be profound.

The Manager

There is increasing frustration at the manager level. They are spending more and more time in the trenches and not doing actual managerial work or strategic thinking. Despite strategy initiatives handed down from the executive levels, they are not seeing real, substantive changes. Nor do they feel connected to the overall strategy of the company, if they even know what it is. The expectations placed on them are not being met, and the frustration only grows when they know they could propel these changes if they had the time and support for managerial tasks.

The Head of HR

HR’s mandate is to have the human resources systems in place. When it comes to HR, the CEO often only thinks in terms of performance management, job descriptions, and other people functions. The issue is that the organization’s systems may be constraining its employees, as opposed to supporting them. For instance, HR is often seen as head of the performance management system, and this tends to revolve around performance appraisals, which are universally disliked and most often ineffective.

When heads of HR can shift their thinking from performance management to operational effectiveness, it can help others within the organization become more effective and productive. They can be the champions within the company that help this shift take place.

When we think of “ineffective managers,” we tend to put the blame squarely on the manager’s shoulders. In effect, what often happens is that the organization does not allow management to be as effective as it could, and should be. Making the shift is important to all levels of an organization, top down, and bottom up.