Are Your Best Managers Hiding in Plain Sight?

by Helen Whelan

Over 80 % of the managers in companies aren’t cut out to be managers.  That’s according to several Gallup studies of hundreds of organizations, 27 million employees and more than 2.5 million work units over the past two decades.

Gallup found that companies get it wrong 82% of the time in who they name to be
TiredBusinessFolks.Ambromanager.  When you think that managers are directly responsible for employee engagement, this is a frightening statistic. Employee engagement is at an all time low of 30%. Just think what that means when it comes to customer service, sales, production, absenteeism, safety incidents…you name it for what makes a business work.

“Of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs, 30 million (30%) are engaged and inspired at work, so we can assume they have a great boss. At the other end of the spectrum are roughly 20 million (20%) employees who are actively disengaged. These employees, who have bosses from hell that make them miserable, roam the halls spreading discontent. The other 50 million (50%) American workers are not engaged. They’re just kind of present, but not inspired by their work or their managers.” State of the American Workplace, Gallup

Here are some good video trainings to help your managers be more effective:

So, what talent does it take to be a good manager?  It’s not what most bosses think.

A good manager isn’t necessarily just a peak performer who was good at his/her individual job in sales or programming, the traditional route to a promotion.  It’s a whole different ball of wax when it comes to producing through others who you have to motivate. summed it up nicely in the talent that makes a good manager:

  • They motivate every single employee to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision.
  • They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  • They create a culture of clear accountability.
  • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  • They make decisions that are based on productivity, not politics.

One in 10 people have the natural talent to be a manager. Two in ten have some of these characteristics that can be further developed through leadership and management training. That’s the good news.

This isn’t about hard skills. It’s about those hard to learn interpersonal skills that are so important to human dynamics.

People’s talents — the naturally recurring patterns in the ways they think, feel, and behave — predict where they’ll perform at their best, says

“The good news is that sufficient management talent exists in every company – it’s often hiding in plain sight. Leaders should maximize this potential by choosing the right person for the next management role using predictive analytics to guide their identification of talent,” according to the

This is where good data enters the picture. Quantifiably being able to measure employee engagement (their emotional commitment that makes them go the extra mile) and holding managers accountable for engagement are just two of many levers companies can use.

Helen Whelan is the founder of Success Television, a leadership development media company. She is a passionate advocate of using media to empower people in their journey of personal and professional growth . You can follow her on Twitter @SuccessTV.

Image courtesy of Ambro /


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