Academic journals and even on-line searches provide a great deal of information on managerial effectiveness from the perspective of improving subordinate performance. Motivation building, fostering teamwork, improving engagement or improving knowledge and skills of individuals is everywhere in the literature. There’s also significant research on the particular functions of management and how to increase effectiveness by eliciting improved performance from a team. But there is no meaningful dialogue on how the organization impacts the ability of managers to do their work. In other words, how do organizational systems support or impede the performance of managers? Managerial effectiveness doesn’t seem to get as much attention as it deserves.
Managers are Overwhelmed
With my organization experience, both as a manager and a management consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact managers have on organizational effectiveness. I’ve had my eyes opened to the fact that in the modern organization, most managers are either overwhelmed or, even if they can “keep up” just not able to spend the time they need throughout the day to achieve what they feel they need to achieve. If you think about a typical day in the life of a manager, it’s not uncommon to see them spending time going to meetings they shouldn’t have to attend, reading emails they shouldn’t have to read, fighting inter-jurisdictional battles, doing work someone else has already done or is also doing or simply re-doing work that is incomplete or wrong.
Organizational Systems Are Failing Our Managers
It has been suggested that as much as 60 percent of a manager’s time is spent doing things they weren’t hired to do. From my experience, I believe about half of that time could be used more effectively or reinvested into the organization as more value-added work. The truth is, our organizational systems are letting our managers down by not enabling them to focus on work that they’ve been trained and hired to do. The result? Managers are simply wasting time, resources and effort doing things they shouldn’t have to be doing.
The challenge with understanding managerial effectiveness lies in trying to better appreciate how managers work and putting systems in place that support them in that work. It’s about creating frameworks for Chief Executive Officers and executive level decision makers to get more value from one of their most invaluable assets- their managers.