Basically, what is a manager? It is someone who is stuck between the tree and the bark, or if you prefer, between the hammer and the anvil. Yes, it is someone who, no matter what he does, is always in the wrong place, where it hits hard from all sides. Right?
Take a look at this… Today, it has to manage telework, deal with matrix teams, tame automation and artificial intelligence (AI); it must also manage difficult employees, promote work-life balance, recruit the rare gem; it still needs to soften senior management, encourage innovation, simplify change. Yes, it is necessary to understand everything, to know everything, to do everything, by aiming – of course – for goals never before achieved.
The question is obvious: is every manager, no matter how gifted, irretrievably doomed to failure? (As is the case, peter’s famous principle…)
The human resources consulting firm Gallup was keen to have a clear heart. He embarked on a huge survey of 3 million teams. Yes, that’s right, 3 million teams. And he looked at the level of commitment of these, to see if there were any commonalities between those who were most engaged, or even between those who were least engaged. A monk’s work that allowed them to discover this:
In general, teams with fewer than 10 people have the highest levels of engagement, but also the lowest levels. And the less members a team has, the more easily it can be influenced by the manager, one way or the other. What do these two points mean? That managers have a considerable influence on the team for which they are responsible, if it has less than a dozen members. An influence that can be positive as well as negative.
The catch? It is that another study of Gallup has uncovered the fact that in North America managers are… Disengaged. Two-thirds acknowledge, on condition of anonymity, that they “do not feel engaged” or that they “feel actively disengaged” from their work. And 79% of them admit to feeling “exhausted” at least some of the time at work.
That’s not all. The disengagement of managers has the peculiarity of cascading on the teams for which they are responsible. And the intensity of this surge depends largely on two factors: on the one hand, the number of members who make up the team; on the other hand, the manager’s competence. Gallup’s study shows that “as the number of team members increases, the manager’s commitment decreases.” In other words, the more a manager has to take care of a large team, the more he pulls out and the more he disengages from his work.
However, one nuance is needed, namely that this decline in commitment is not the same for all managers. Some of them manage to maintain a high level of commitment, even if the size of their team is increased. How does that happen? The study looked at this very interesting point, and found that highly engaged managers regardless of the size of their team had five common denominators or five particular talents:
1. Motivation – The ability to get others to do an exceptional job.
2. Inspiration – The ability to set realistic and bold goals as well as to organize resources so that the team can give its daily 110%.
3. Bravery – The ability to inspire others to take action, face adversity and overcome obstacles.
4. Connection – The ability to forge rich and fruitful relationships with the team members, to enable them to forge identical relationships with each other and thus foster collaboration within the entire team.
5. Analysis – The ability to take an analytical approach to strategy and decision-making.
It’s quite simple, the best managers master all these five talents, which can be summed up by the acronym MIBCA. This is the key to their success. Talented on these points, they find themselves engaged as a person in their work, and this cascades over the members of their team.
To ensure the veracity of this find, a team of Gallup experts conducted various experiments with 3,579 managers and their teams. This allowed them to note that:
- One third of the managers considered were involved in their work.
- Among this third, managers who had a high level of mastery of the 5 talents had overall a level of commitment 20 percentage points higher, to 57%, than the average of the managers considered. A gap of 20 points is, it should be noted, considerable.
- These managers, the most talented, maintained their high level of commitment regardless of the size of their team: four or less, five to nine, 10 to 15, or even more than 15.
- Managers with “average” or “moderate” control of the five talents had a high level of commitment when they were leading a team of four or fewer, but the team began to decline as the size of their team grew.
- Managers who had a “weak” command of the five talents simply could not feel engaged in their work, no matter the size of their team.
As you can see, the five talents – motivation, inspiration, bravery, connection – analysis – make all the difference. So the best way to progress as a manager is to start cultivating each of them. So the best thing for a company, whether it’s a small business or a multinational, is to find a way to allow its managers to cultivate these five talents harmoniously. Because it will have a crazy impact on employee engagement, and therefore on their performance.