In this article from the Seattle Times, there are some shocking statistics about how workers feel about management (https://www.seattletimes.com/nwshowcase/careers/80-of-workers-say-managers-are-unnecessary/)
If 80% of workers feel that their managers are unnecessary, organizations are clearly failing to adequately prepare and equip managers to perform their work effectively. To be fair, managers carry significant responsibility—hiring, orienting, training, holding people accountable, coaching, ensuring compliance with policy and procedure, leading change, managing conflicts, carrying out disciplinary action, leading terminations, and much more. Management is clearly not for everyone, especially if you don’t have the stomach for it. Leadership can be a lonely and uncomfortable place at times. But despite all that managers do, the perception remains that our work and effort is not meaningful or transparent to our staff.
Workers don’t have a strong sense that management is there for them. The article points out the glaring problem of trust—employees don’t trust their bosses so they are not authentic with them. They won’t communicate frankly and openly about their work, their concerns, and about their engagement level. 93% of employees said trust in their direct boss is essential to staying satisfied at work, yet only half of the people surveyed said their manager was approachable.
How much do your employees trust their supervisors? You should consider asking that question with a simple confidential survey. Would the answer surprise you? Workers have to trust that their managers actually care about them as people beyond the work they do, have their best interests in mind, and wish to see them succeed and develop professionally. And the ability to build trusting relationships is a learnable skill; people can grow at this. There are concrete actions that managers can take to improve relationships.
One of the best statements about management I ever heard was, “A manager’s job is to remove every obstacle that makes it difficult for the team to do its job.” Management’s role then is to serve and not to be served. How do we get to this perspective change?
The articles provides two important insights into a resolution. Less than half of all managers have ever been coached or mentored or received any kind of formal management development training. We put people into positions of authority over others and fail to prepare them adequately. At IPS we hear every reason under the sun why organizations cannot do these two basic things—time and money are the main ones.
I’d like to close with a few questions—how much is poorly prepared management costing you? How much are you spending on turnover? How much are you losing on low productivity because your managers do not know how to form trusting relationships?