Is Investing in Managers the Key to Better Employee Performance?

Dwight Mihalicz,

Nowadays we’re seeing organizations increasing their efforts to improve their management, influenced by research that claims managerial competence is hugely significant. We have seen government reform plans to become more efficient, accountable and practical — the goal which is taking the business world by storm as well. Even Gallup has changed their focus to managers, coining in the phrase: the Manager experience.

Where these plans sometimes fail is the lack of real understanding of the issue. By now, everyone knows managers are essential. But what makes the relationship between a manager and an employee so crucial in improving employee performance? That’s a question that’s often ignored or pushed to the sidelines in organizations that fail to place the proper focus on enhancing their managerial practices.

Effective Supervision

Many organizations only think of managers as being supervisors that make sure employees are following orders. It’s a universal approach that leaves a lot to be desired. Even if they aren’t micromanaging employees and ensuring that all tasks are completed on time, that’s only the beginning of what a manager should accomplish. Even a bad manager can make employees meet deadlines through pressure and by creating stress. What truly makes management effective is ensuring that employees are both completing their tasks on time and that they feel satisfied with their current employment.

Benefit from Investing in Managers

Employees often aren’t managed according to modern best practices, thanks to a long tradition of organizations ignoring their managers. Organizations are blind to the actual importance of managers for the overall performance of an organization. There is a general sense that once someone is promoted to be a manager that they will know what to do.

Employees don’t function in their isolated space — there’s a level of interaction necessary for them to be able to carry out their tasks. The problem created by this kind of thinking is that it is blind to the connection between the manager-employee relationship and improved employee performance. Any organization that still nurtures this kind of mindset when it comes to managing employees could benefit from investing more in managers.

What Does It Mean to Invest in Managers?

However, if a company takes “investing in managers” to mean “providing manager training,” it’s missing out on some key details. To indeed improve their performance and relationship with employees, managers need to learn where their weak points are. It wouldn’t be a problem if people weren’t often blind to where they might be under-performing.

For right investment in managers, a company should also provide them with standardized feedback of their performance and how it affects employee productivity, turnover, safety, quality, and other factors. If this evaluation is designed to fit with the company culture and align with its goals, it’s going to be most effective. For example, if one of the goals for employee management is to decrease turnover, then the efforts of the managers should be centered on improving the manager-employee relationship and making employees feel more valued.

Ultimately, investing in managers means identifying where your organization’s overall management practices are failing, and then replacing the bad habits with methods that provide better results.

Many organizations try to improve employee engagement by intervening directly with employees: more communication, more training, cross functional team building, and so on. Such approached may have limited short term results, but they are doomed to fail. Managers must do their managerial leadership work.

It’s time for managers to be more widely acknowledged as one of the crucial factors in an organization’s success to maintain employee happiness. Any organization could benefit from overcoming their managerial challenges by using a simple methodology that has been proven to work. Don’t let lousy management practices plague your organization and employees, but rather invest in improving them to reap all the potential benefits.

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Dwight Mihalicz

Dwight Mihalicz has over 40 years’ experience helping local, national, and international organizations achieve greater productivity, efficiency, and performance.
Copyright © 2019 - Dwight Mihalicz -Sage Effective Managers