Sponsored by The Culture Platform
You probably know at least one great manager. Maybe you’ve even worked for that person. If so, I imagine it was a fulfilling experience. How do I know? It’s a safe bet because research tells us just how deeply managers influence our work experience. For instance:
- Gallup says managers affect employee engagement and performance more than anything else. In fact, 70% of the variance in a team’s engagement is determined solely by its manager.
- A Stanford study found that productivity increases by as much as 50% when employees move from a manager with “average” capabilities to a high-quality boss. Not surprisingly, retention is also higher among those with better bosses.
Sadly, great managers are a rare breed. But we can change that. First, we need to understand what it takes to be the kind of manager everyone wants to work for. And that’s exactly what we’re exploring with a management development expert on today’s episode of #WorkTrends…
Meet Our Guest: Ron Ricci
This week, I’m thrilled to welcome a long-time friend of TalentCulture, Ron Ricci. Ron is the founder and CEO of The Culture Platform, the foremost data-based system to measure, manage, and magnify organizational culture.
With more than two decades of experience in leading large teams, Ron is an expert voice on management best practices. Previously, he held multiple senior leadership roles at Cisco, where he managed more than 5,000 employees.
Because he is so passionate about helping managers succeed in what he calls the “post-everything” era, I know Ron has a wealth of ideas to share. So let’s get started!
The Anatomy of a Great Manager
Welcome, Ron. What did your successful career at Cisco teach you about being a great manager?
I knew I was only as good as the people on my team — so to attract the best people, I needed to be a great manager. And to be a great manager, I learned that I had to be really good at setting clear expectations for people.
Being a manager is probably the toughest job in any organization. You sit between leadership’s expectations and your people’s expectations. That’s why it’s critical to be a strong expectation-setter.
Factors Affecting Managerial Success
Why do so many people fail in management roles?
I think this happens for two reasons:
First, being a manager is hard because it involves human-to-human communication. It takes a lot of courage to be a great manager. You have to tell people the truth. You have to follow through on your word. You have to hold people accountable.
So folks fail because they don’t understand how hard it is or how to develop an effective communication style.
Also, I think companies contribute because they’re often very inconsistent in how they act and behave. We’ve all seen it. Companies start a project, then stop it. They launch an initiative, then they don’t fund it. They don’t measure things consistently. Or they don’t have a calendared process to hold people accountable.
Managers need to challenge their company to do better. If companies operate more consistently, managers can do a better job of helping people see future opportunities and move in that direction.
I really feel for anyone who is a manager these days. We talk nonstop about employees and leaders, but managers are left behind…
Good point, Meghan. Over the past few decades, organizations have emphasized leadership and over-invested in employee engagement — and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere. Meanwhile, we’ve under-invested in manager training and development.
We have to stop doing something to do something else better. We have to decide that the manager role is more important. We need to help managers improve how they set expectations, so their employees fall in love with their job and kick ass in whatever their role may be.
In my opinion, this is 20 years overdue.
The Manager’s Toolbox
I’m glad you offer a resource called The Manager’s Toolbox. What’s inside?
Rather than over-emphasizing technology, the toolbox focuses on developing the human-to-human communication process every great manager needs. It’s based on three elements:
1) How to align company priorities with a job role.
2) How to measure something people are doing so you can communicate with facts.
3) How to set priorities and make sure you measure things in a consistent way across the organization so there’s no ambiguity.
You can’t really replace this kind of communication with technology. It’s a process.
Learn More About How to be a Great Manager
For more insights about developing better managers, listen to this full #WorkTrends episode on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or wherever you tune in to podcasts. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe, so you won’t miss future episodes.