Mid-level managers often have the biggest impact on employee engagement & productivity because of their direct involvement with the frontline staff. To be clear, when I say mid-level manager, I am speaking about the immediate managers over sales reps or account managers (think branch manager, division director, etc). And because of the impact they have on employee engagement & productivity, they can be the Achilles heel for companies if they are left uninvested. Bold statement, right? Why do I say this?
1. You are focusing on the wrong things when it comes to training the managers
When I ask executives what type of training they have in place for their managers, half of them admit they do not have any formal leadership training. Queue the warning sirens.
If you have nothing in place today, you are putting your employees in an extremely difficult position to succeed, especially in the current business environment.
The other 50% claim that they do have leadership training, but when asking for more clarification on what the training consists of, I find it is more focused on "how to run reports" or "how to work a P&L". Obviously, both are important to the business but do nothing to help managers strengthen their leadership skills around coaching, EQ & empathy or increasing employee engagement. Today, the manager role is extremely difficult. A lot of managers are first-time leaders. Some are former high producers promoted to management positions because of the success they had in the field. Many are moving from a peer to a boss role and often are faced with the difficult question, “How do I manage the people I used to be working alongside?”. They feel they are running for reelection and want to be liked by their team. In addition, a lot of managers are still carrying a book of business. Your managers are in a tough spot.
What do your leadership development resources look like?
Forbes found that 83% of companies believe in having leadership training for all levels of managers, yet only 5% actually have it in place. Take a second to truly reflect on what type of leadership development training you have in place today. First, do you have anything? And secondly, if you do, does it really help managers strengthen skills needed for legacy leadership, or more focused on reporting and finances?
2. You are accepting the socially acceptable excuse of “the Great Resignation”
The second reason mid-level managers can be the Achilles heel is because of the acceptance of “It’s the great resignation” or “the great reevaluation”. I hear these on almost every client call. I get it. Turnover is impacting a lot of organizations. But it is becoming a socially acceptable excuse right now for executives to use. “Yeah, our turnover has increased. People do not want to work. It is just the way it is.” or “They are leaving for better offers I can’t compete with”. Sometimes, this is the case, but I feel most executives are deflecting the accountability when it comes to employee burnout & turnover.
DDI found that 60% of managers report feeling “used up” by the end of each workday. In fact, managers have the second-lowest level of engagement right now, only behind the individual contributors they oversee. Are you aware that 70% of employee engagement is directly related to the manager? Combat employee burnout & turnover by investing in your staff. Help your managers strengthen their skills to navigate change management. Give them the tools they need to develop and inspire the individuals they oversee.
Companies that are focusing on investing in their managers are the companies that will succeed this year and into the future. If this is an area of opportunity for you and your team, I would welcome your time to connect.