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There’s no denying the fact that today’s managers are not as effective as they could be. They are overburdened, lacking critical support systems and unprepared with the resources and tools they need to achieve higher levels of output, both individually and organization-wide. Despite strategic initiatives being handed down from the executive level, expectations are not being met as managers are pulled in different directions and distracted from value added work. Most managers know that they could propel change if they had the time and support to do so. From the perspective of the Human Resources department, what needs to happen to help increase managerial effectiveness?

Head of HR and HR Teams Need to be Champions for Effectiveness

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In almost every organization, Human Resources has an accountability for an important component of performance: providing the tools by which performance feedback is provided from managers to their direct reports. While there are many aspects of performance management that can be improved, having a performance management system in place in organizations is critical.

The head of human resources, and human resources professionals can play a much more fundamental role. HR teams can be champions for effectiveness, helping managers more efficiently achieve objectives that are consistent with achieving the organization’s strategy. HR can ensure that systems are in place to ensure that managers are delegating within an accountability and authority framework. Position descriptions, for example, are underused. They are often only “dusted off” when it’s time to hire someone into the position. Used properly, they can help managers more accurately define accountabilities and create a crucial dialogue between the manager and subordinate managers about the nature of work that needs to get done.

Help Managers Learn How to Be Managers: Mentoring Systems

Who teaches managers how to manage? There are entry-level managerial courses, and those are helpful. However, as you move up the chain of command through the organization towards Director or Vice President, the nature of management becomes more complex. Invariably, managers at this level lead based on models that they have seen as they have been managed. What systems and processes can HR put in place for appropriate managerial leadership throughout the organization? Are there mentoring systems to ensure that this happens appropriately?

From Performance Management to Operational Effectiveness

Performance management systems define priorities in many organizations. By shifting thinking from appraisal to operational effectiveness, HR can help others within the organization become more productive. The current performance appraisal systems that are in place in most organizations have come a long way in terms of trying to link more specific objectives. Nevertheless, many of those objectives are short-term and not related in a distinct and transparent way back to the organization’s strategy. In the absence of a clear, well-defined accountability and authority framework, it’s difficult to sustain an effective performance management system. This is one common reason why many managers don’t value performance management systems in the workplace.

There is increasing frustration at the management levels as managers are spending more and more of their time in the trenches and are not doing their actual managerial work. As a result, it’s very easy for them to lose sight of the main purpose behind what it is they are trying to achieve. HR can have a significant impact on managerial effectiveness by helping champion more efficient and productive processes, changing the mindset from performance management to operational effectiveness and providing the right roadmap for managers to do what they do best: lead.