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82% of Your Managers Aren't Effective At Their Job

March 3, 2017


That got your attention, didn’t it?  According to Gallup research, 8 out of 10 of your managers aren’t effective at their job.  To be exact, 82% of managers were not displaying important leadership skills and abilities needed to perform well on the job.  Only 18% of current managers have proficient skills and traits that demonstrate leadership talent.  This means that several companies are missing out on bringing in leaders who are effective and talented in their position. A few things to consider:

  • Leaders have direct impact on employee productivity, engagement, and retention.

  • They also have more engaged customers and higher profitability overall.

  • If your fearless leader doesn’t embody the traits and skills needed to be effective, then all of these outcomes will take a turn for the worse.

  • A poor manager will not provide clear guidance to subordinates nor will they provide them sufficient coaching thereby harming performance.

  • Furthermore, they will deteriorate employee morale overall by being ineffective and negative.

Scary, right? It doesn’t end there.  This same study examined engagement levels of managers assessed:

  • A mere 35% of managers are engaged in their jobs.

  • If managers aren’t engaged in their job, can you imagine what kind of effects this would have on their employees?

  • At least 70% of the variance in engagement scores is attributed to managers’ skills, behaviors, and managers’ own engagement.

  • To put this percentage to numbers, Gallup estimates that actively disengaged and unengaged managers cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually.

  • Alternatively, employees who are managed by highly engaged leaders are much more likely to be engaged themselves. This in turn leads to higher productivity, lower turnover, and higher profitability.

ineffective_leaders-1.pngOne final piece of information they collected in the survey was how they came into their managerial position.  The top 2 responses were:

  • “I was promoted because I was successful in a previous non-managerial role.”

  • “I have a lot of experience and tenure in my company or field.”

These are the exact reasons why so many leaders fail at their job.  Hiring a leader based on skills demonstrated in an individual contributor role doesn’t provide you any information about their potential for leading.  Additionally, tenure doesn’t necessarily provide you the right information either.  When individuals are in a role for a long period of time, they find ways to mask some of their limitations by leveraging their strengths.  However, when placed in new situations that can be stress-inducing, their challenge areas can become more pronounced.  This can ultimately lead the individual to struggle on the job. Based on this poll, is all hope lost?  Absolutely not!  It just means that we need to place a more concerted effort in selecting leaders into their role.  The best way to do this is by developing a robust hiring process that might include an assessment battery and structured interviews to measure the skills and abilities important for success in the target leadership role.

To learn more about what factors contribute to leadership success, check out this whitepaper:

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Alissa Parr, Ph.D. Alissa Parr, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant at PSI. Her areas of expertise include the development, implementation, and evaluation of assessment processes. Alissa has experience managing entry-level through executive level assessment and selection efforts across a number of different industries including government, financial, military, education, healthcare, and manufacturing.