In business, we often seem to focus less on the management team, and more on the glamorous and exciting work of leadership. However, managers are the ones responsible for making sure that things are done properly. While leaders may bring us vision, inspiration, and challenge, these things count for nothing without the efficient implementation brought by good management.
The job description for a leadership position is very different from one for a manager, hence a business cannot run without one or the other. Putting the right management team in place takes time and a lot of effort, but with proper training and investment, great managers can turn into amazing leaders. This is why focusing on middle-level managers is important for your company.
From senior-level managers all the way down to team leads, each role has its own purpose in the puzzle. Today we will focus more on middle-level managers. In major corporations, senior-level managers tend to lean towards leadership "tasks", hence mid-level managers are the roles that actually focus on your company's core operations and drive the success or failure of your main client deliverables.
There are plenty of reasons why focusing on your management team is crucial for the business. Let's name a few:
1. Client Satisfaction
It's is everyone's responsibility, but if we scan through responsibilities, we see the difference. While the leadership can have a significant impact on client satisfaction and retention, it is the manager's responsibility to get the job done properly along with his team. Great results or failures are attributed to each company's managers. In today's business environment, client satisfaction is the key to success and so it's the most important aspect of any business. Knowing where to target your focus to reach a high level of client satisfaction is your priority. Among, costs savings, cash flows, the profit and loss results, your management team should be "treated" with the same importance.
Needless to say, a happy client will lead to other clients, through recommendations and other channels.
2. Company Growth.
Of course, company growth is subject to leadership, but how can this be achieved without proper management? The key to business growth relies on collaboration between these 2 parties. Having a great company vision and business strategy is useless if there is not a well-managed team to back it up with action and hard work.
Major corporations understood the importance, and they are investing a lot of time and money in their management. They have special programs created for improving managerial skills. These programs are delivered either directly by the company or by 3rd parties. Promotions and other kinds of recognition must be taken into consideration for keeping your management happy.
3. Workplace Well-being.
Needless to say, that unhappy managers lead to less productive employees. A 2014 study by the University of Warwick found happiness made employees about 12% more productive. If your managers are unhappy, chances are good they’re making those they manage unhappy as well.
It's often a trickle effect. Public problems often are rooted in issues from internal leadership and management. In fact, research finds that the competence or incompetence of a boss can have a direct impact on the happiness of employees. In other words, behind every happy worker is a competent boss.
4. People (Employee) Retention.
We already agreed that good management leads to employee satisfaction which also leads to employee retention. In today's world, with millions of companies and billions of employment opportunities, there are plenty of recruitment articles stating that companies are facing huge challenges retaining great talent. Gallup says that the current US engagement at work is at around 33%.
Let's face it: many people leave companies because of their bosses and many leave for a change in their role. Research by Gallup shows that 93% of Millennials don't stay with their current company to find new roles. Statistics show that the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times during his or her career. Many workers spend five years or less in every job.
As previously mentioned, promotions and any kind of recognition must be taken into consideration for keeping your employees happy and productive.
5. Great Managers Can Become Amazing Leaders.
Hiring from within the company by promoting or switching roles is the best move each company could make. This has many benefits, from increasing people retention to saving money with hiring from outside the company.
On the other hand, hiring managers from outside the company has its benefits as well. They can bring a different perspective, a different flavor to the company's way of work, new ideas, improved managerial skills, and so on.
But the bottom line here is that managers who reach leadership roles within the same company have higher rates of involvement, achievements, they understand better and faster their new duties. As they jump into this role many months/years in advance, they will deliver greater results.
How to Improve Manager Quality
Middle-level managers are the ones who deliver the most valuable results for the company. They way they manage their workers has a high impact on overall company results. The difference between a great manager and an average one is immediately visible, that's why keeping them trained and is crucial for each company.
There are many ways companies can invest in their management. Here are some recommendations:
- Succession planning and management assessment tools. By using a management assessment, a company will get an understanding of their manager's qualities and an idea of how they actually perform in their management positions.
- Management quiz and challenges. Challenges can give an overview of how skilled is each person in the managerial area. Quizzes are good for understanding what are their top strengths and if those are in line with their manager role, where to improve and what to avoid.
- Training and certifications. Either internal or external delivered, each company should provide relevant training for its employees/ managers. If external training is delivered, certifications are relevant for both company and the person trained.
- Incorporate mentorship. Mentorship is very different from management. Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. Mentoring provides guidance and assistance and enables the supported individual to find problem solution through the asking of direct questions. Focusing on turning managers into mentors would bring significant work-satisfaction, engagement, and better operational results.
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Livia is the founder of the Work Ethics Blog which is mainly focusing on career development, best practices to be applied at work, performance, and management tips. She has more than 10 years of working experience, currently being a project manager at Accenture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.