Why Your Managers Are Disengaged

The Huffington Post recently issued an ‘Infographic’ entitled “13 Disturbing Facts About Employee Engagement.”
While all were relevant, five were critical to leaders because they directly relate to leading managers.
Eighty (80) percent of senior managers are not passionate about their work.
Three quarters (75 percent) of those surveyed struggle to attract and recruit quality people needed for growth.
Eighty-six (86) percent of business and HR leaders do not have a good leadership development plan.
Business leaders also think that they have a significant employee retention and engagement issues.
The last fact is that only a fraction (6 percent) believes that the current process for managing performance is worth the time to execute it.
How did it get to this point; how did it get so bad? And, more importantly, what can be done to change things?
It all starts and ends with the leader; the man or woman at the top. They must be willing to personally change to improve the engagement levels of employees.
Let me define this specifically. These individuals need to stop giving orders, stop second guessing their subordinates and start coaching people for better performance.
I know from personal experience that the most important aspect to be engaged was to be trusted. The level of trust a leader places in any subordinate will determine the level of engagement of the subordinate.
Where there is no trust, there will no engagement.
I would have welcomed coaching from my bosses to become better.
Some organizations value development but many do not. Often people are promoted because they have been at the company a long time and as a result, they are given a title and the responsibility to manage people.
Being given responsibility is not enough, corresponding authority is also needed. This means that the manager is trusted to use resources without having to seek approval every time they see the need to take action.
Managers learn and grow when they are allowed to make mistakes.
When the leader second guesses decisions made by managers, it kills both the spirit and engagement level.
Unfortunately, responsibility is given freely, and authority rarely is.
Managers who are continually second-guessed are simply going to keep the title and the larger paycheck and disengage.
Years ago I was told that no matter where I worked, I needed to make sure that the person I reported to was as interested in my own career development as I was. If I recognized that my boss didn’t have my best career interests at heart, I should find someone else to work for that did.
Coaching helps people get better, if the advice is taken and used. What keep managers engaged is being coached by their leader.
Unfortunately, coaching rarely takes place. It does take place, formally, once a year (actually, in most companies far less frequently) through the dreaded annual performance evaluation.
In my situation, that was when all the coaching suggestions that could have and should have been made to me throughout the year were unleashed as criticism and second guessing months after the fact.
I advise my clients to only have people who are managers that they can trust to with both the responsibility to get the job done accompanied by the authority needed.
I also teach them how to coach by using the 12 questions created and used by The Gallup Organization in the best seller, “First, break all the rules.”
Finally, I tell them they need to lighten up and allow people to make mistakes. The only way a manager can progress and feel engaged is when they are trusted enough to make mistakes, and to learn from them.
If the leader can’t do these three things, they should hire someone to do it for them or expect continued disengagement from their managers and employees.