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Ever Thought Of Engaging Managers?

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Numerous researches show the relationship between managers and engagement. Engage For Success has defined engaging managers as one of four main engagement enablers. Gallup has dedicated much of its massive engagement efforts to encouraging managers to strengthen their relationship with employees.

Again, Custom Insights found that 49 percent of disengaged workers had issues with their managers. Thus, it is quite notable that most of the google searches focus on employee engagement. Or on what a manager can do to increase employee engagement.

But what about the managers? What if they are disengaged?

Organizations need to understand what managers are doing in the workplace- build, or break the engagement.

Also read: 7 Signs of Disengaged Employees

Gallup's State of the American Manager estimates that just 35 percent of managers engage themselves at work. How will disengaged managers inspire their workers? The study further indicates that managers account for 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement scores. Disengaged managers clearly cannot produce environments favorable to employee engagement.

Another Gallup study says that one in two American workers had quit their job at some stage to get away from their manager.

Now, let’s look at the benefits of engaging managers.

6 Top-Notch Benefits of Engaging Managers

Here are some of the essential habits of highly engaged managers, beneficial to organizations.

  • Engaged managers provide new hires with intensive guidance and coaching. They handle the "onboarding" process proactively so that they can make an excellent first impression.

Also read: Employee Onboarding- A Detailed Checklist

  • They are confident enough to communicate in a direct and straightforward language with their employees.
  • Engaged managers recognize that they are being held accountable for performance management. They are honest in understanding their strengths and limitations as a manager.
  • These managers work on building on their employees' strengths rather than fixing their weaknesses. It helps employees learn their work more quickly, produce more and better jobs, and stay there longer.
  • Engaged managers actively listen when employees do not meet their expectations. They make recommendations to solve their challenges and difficulties based on their professional capacity.
  • They promote and reward good performers. However, if their best mentoring efforts do not pay off, they are not afraid of firing non-performers.

The current pandemic is imposing a significant burden on the managers. In our recent podcast interview, we asked Manesh Kumar how we can engage managers in such a crisis.

Here's what he had to say.

That's right; the pandemic has imposed a particular challenge for managers and leaders in companies. I think the first thing we must remember is that our managers and leaders are human beings too. They have the unenviable task of trying to make decisions and navigate business success. At the same time, they have to ensure that things remain focused and motivated. And it's extremely demanding on the part of the managers.

He adds,

So, I think we should do our best to support them and their effort. We should ensure there is constant two-way feedback and communication. We should do all that we can to help build an environment to enable success and growth at all levels. And we must support them in their efforts.

For managers, several engagement strategies enable them to perform at higher levels. Infact, many of the techniques that boost employee engagement often work for managers too. Thus, instead of firing your disengaged managers, look at the following methods of engaging managers.

6 Undeniable Tips For Engaging Managers

1. Improve Communication, Growth and Development Opportunities.

The majority of managers will never accept that they are bad communicators. We take communication skills in managers for granted.

And for a manager, it might be a little humiliating to be advised to get some training to develop their necessary communication skills. However, corporate communication training is a great option to improve their expertise.

But, it is not just for their communication skills. Managers need overall growth and development opportunities, provided these options to promote loyalty, and generate motivation.

Offer managers every possible resource through engagement to develop into their positions. You can offer them engagement opportunities to gain expertise by managing non-critical projects and development teams.

Such engagement methods may include encouraging managers to build their peer-to-peer networks and gain industry certifications.

You can consider the following questions to know what can help you.

  • What abilities do your managers lack?
  • What are their significant weaknesses?
  • Which programs are likely to build their high participation rates?
  • Do they need any special training and certification?
  • How do their long term career goals align with their current position?
  • Will short departmental transfers benefit their engagement?

2. Practice Empathy with them.

The key to cultivating managers' quality and improving their engagement with the organization is to show empathy for them. We often provide empathy training and urge the managers to practice it. But unless we understand the hardship of managers, the initiative would fall on deaf ears.

Thus, we should aim to instill empathy in managers by exercising compassion with them. We should seek managerial feedback and learn from mistakes while keeping confidence in the business.

Also read: 5 Crucial Steps To Building Empathy In The Workplace

3. Foster Engagement through Collaboration.

Collaborating managers are the first to be selected for intricate tasks requiring inter-departmental teamwork. Thus, instilling collaborative and engagement skills in managers is essential.

Again, collaboration and engagement are practically synonyms. So a perfect way to promote engagement is to collaborate with managers.

Collaborative activities are building relationships and gaining popularity worldwide. It has broken down barriers and improved communication. Still, many managers have the least idea about what's going on in their organizations.

Here's what can help.

  • Employees must take ownership of their problems and work continuously to improve things. It will reduce the unnecessary pressure on their managers. To help, there are workforce analytics tools available that can gauge employee productivity metrics, so they can know how they're doing and see where there's room to improve.
  • We should strengthen internal communication within departments. Every department should know what the others are up to. It is also necessary to include stakeholders in the engagement efforts.
  • It is also a valuable technique to build small, specialist teams that can solve highly technical issues across departments. These teams can keep managers engaged and informed about broader trends and concerns.

4. Respect them.

Whether you like them or not, a manager is a manager. Make an effort to stop name-calling or bad-mouthing a manager.

You can, of course, show them their mistake and criticize their performance. But, your criticism should not lead to negative and personal comments. You have to show them respect and not involve in backstabbing activities that result in disengagement.

Also read: 8 Super Useful Tips To Improve Respect In The Workplace

5. Build Transparency.

There are times when it is not possible to reveal any corporate strategies. But unless it causes any security issue, you should be as transparent as possible with your managers. You should explain why you cannot reveal some data at present. We should share the targets, objectives, and current performance reviews of the company with the managers.

6. Create a Culture of Recognition.

Anjan Pathak, our co-founder, and CTO noticed that managers might neglect to recognize employee achievements. It is merely because most managers are unsure of what to say. It is common in even organizations with high levels of employee engagement.

The longer managers take to recognize team members, the less likely employees will recognize them as engaged managers. Thus, it is a two-way process. To get recognized, managers should first learn the art of recognizing their engaged employees. On the other hand, employees should recognize managers for everything positive they do in the workplace.

Do you do these things for your manager? It’s what they want. If you don’t believe me, try confronting them!

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a digital marketer at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest in research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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