Bad management costs the U.S. economy nearly $400 billion annually, according to the Harvard Business Review. Much of this has to do with employee engagement—a study from Dale Carnegie Training found that nearly 75% of employees are not fully engaged at work, and the number one factor that contributes to engagement is an employee’s relationship with their immediate supervisor.
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Management research provides insight into the behaviors and trends of how people are managed, what management techniques are effective, and how we can boost engagement through effective people management. Learn how to simplify day-to-day people management with the following four tips.
1. Focus on Strengths
Great managers get to know the individuals on their team—strengths, personalities, work styles—and tailor their workload to fit those strengths. When you put people in position to succeed, naturally, good things happen.
Two-thirds of employees who strongly agree that their manager focuses on their strengths are engaged at work. When managers don’t focus on employee strengths, the percentage of engaged employees drops to only 2%.
It’s not only engagement that’s affected. The same study from Gallup found that strengths-focused management can lead to a 10-19% increase in sales, 14-29% increase in profit, and 26-72% lower turnover.
2. Prioritize 1-on-1s
1-on-1 meetings are vital for effective people management. These meetings should be regularly scheduled and organized. And great managers stick to the schedule—they don’t cancel or postpone one-on-ones.
Management researchers examined how much time managers spent in 1-on-1 with their employees. The average manager spent 30 minutes every three weeks with each member of their team. Those employees who received twice the number of 1-on-1s than the average worker were 67% less likely to be disengaged. And when a manager fails to meet with their direct reports 1-on-1, those employees are four times more likely to be disengaged.
3.Work as Hard as Your Employees
Managers should exemplify a strong work ethic. They shouldn’t be leaving the office right at five o’clock when their employees are working late. The same team examined utilization—essentially, the number of hours that managers and employees work in an average week.
Research showed that managers who work the longest hours—in the top quartile of utilization—also have employees who work longer, up to 19% more hours than employees who report to less-utilized managers. Despite the longer hours, these more-utilized employees actually have 5% higher engagement scores than their counterparts.
This seems to indicate that employees are willing to work longer—and be more engaged in that work—if their manager is working just as hard.
4. Allocate Work Evenly
It’s also critical that managers assign work evenly throughout their team. One or two employees shouldn’t be doing the majority of the work. The research shows that individuals who work more hours than their peers are more likely to be disengaged. Those individuals who work 120% longer hours than the rest of the team are 33% more likely to be disengaged. Plus, they’re twice as likely to view leadership unfavorably.
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People are willing to work longer hours if the rest of the team is too. If they’re the only one putting extra time in, that’s a recipe for disengagement.
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