How do you know if someone has great leadership or management skills? Should we look at the training they have received or the activities they carry out? While these are the typical ways to assess managers, it is actually a poor approach to assess management skills.
A much better way to assess leaders is to look at their employees. If a manager’s employees are growing up, ready for change, strategically aligned, and productive, you’re much more likely to be looking for an effective manager. Of course, you can assess the financial, quality, or throughput performance of a manager’s service, but these metrics typically have more to do with business strategy and operational systems than whether a manager is doing their job effectively. The most direct way to measure a person’s management skills is to look at the people they lead.
To get you started, look for these three signs of great management: Whether employees learn new skills, can overcome obstacles, and understand company strategy.
Sign # 1: Employees learn new skills
When employees regularly learn new skills and develop their capabilities, you gain several benefits. First, your talent pool is growing. If you have to regularly look outside the company for better skills, not only will you pay a premium, but it’s also a sign that you’re not developing enough internal talent. Second, as employees learn and grow, their engagement increases, they are less likely to quit, and their emotional health is better.
Unfortunately, from the Are SMART Goals Dumb study, we know that only 35% of employees say they are always learning something new on the job. Meanwhile, 52% of employees never, occasionally or rarely learn new things.
Just think about the many untapped talent in your business right now and how deep your talent pool is if more employees learn new skills. We also know from the study that when employee goals require learning new skills, those goals are nearly ten times more powerful in inspiring employees than goals that don’t require learning.
Sign # 2: Managers remove barriers from their employees
Few things are more frustrating for an employee than spending the day overcoming obstacles rather than making real progress. It can be demoralizing to exert tremendous effort for eight straight hours to end the day feeling like no real progress has been made. And most of us have found that with a pandemic, a hybrid workforce, economic turmoil, etc., the number of daily roadblocks we face has increased dramatically.
In The State Of Leadership Development study, we found that a majority of employees feel their leader is not doing enough to remove barriers to their success. Only 16% of employees say their leader always removes obstacles to their success, while 26% say their leader never or rarely removes these obstacles.
It does not require decades of training or operational sophistication; it is often as simple as a manager asking employees to describe the obstacles that stand in their way, and then resolve them. Ironically, most of the frustrations that employees face are fairly straightforward to correct. Of course, there are insurmountable system frustrations (e.g. poorly functioning technology, cumbersome internal processes, etc.), but there are just as many that only require a quick fix.
Sign # 3: Employees Understand the Rationale for the Company’s Strategy
Do your employees really understand the company’s strategy? And do they understand the rationale for this strategy? The more they do, the more they will embrace the change, be inspired and do their best.
In the study Resistance to change comes from these five factors, we asked 31,664 employees and leaders if they understood the rationale for their organization’s strategy (e.g. economic, market, competitive, etc.) . Only 15% of employees said they still understand the logic behind their organization’s strategy. In contrast, 40% said they never or rarely understood this reasoning.
Of course, it helps if the business strategy has a compelling rationale, but a key job for managers is to adopt a high-level business strategy and translate it into language and behaviors that their employees can understand and understand. adopt. Not only does this increase an employee’s positive feelings towards the company, but it also gives greater meaning to the work of the employees and increases their readiness for change.
For example, the study found that 24% of employees’ belief that their business needs to change is driven by their understanding of the rationale for those changes. And as you can imagine, the best managers tend to invest the time necessary to explain the logic of change, strategies, systems, etc.
There are many ways to assess whether someone is a great manager. But if you pay close attention to these three signs, you will get a quick and accurate assessment of the leaders in your organization. And for individual managers, these three signs represent an excellent starting point to accelerate your personal quest for management excellence.