Who do you work for… your manager or your company?

I want you to cast your mind back to your past job interviews. The manager that you would be answering to if successful was a part of the interviewing panel. What was your impression of them? I ask this seemingly odd question because I have seen job seekers snap up a job offer because they wanted to work for that manager. I’ve also known others to cut an interview short because that manager was an idiot!

Whichever expression you choose, a great manager, supervisor, team leader or boss can be the difference between an employee walking through the door each morning with pep and vigour, hungry to take on the challenges of the day, and one that lopes in and fails to engage and deliver. Now granted there could be many a reason an employee battles to roll out of bed and attack their working day, but a great manager is generally not the cause of their ongoing and detached attitude. Rather a study by Gallup, an American research based, global performance management consulting company, reveals that the foundation to building a good employee-manager relationship is due to the manager identifying that their employee wants:

  • a manager who shows care, interest and concern for their staff
  • to know what is expected of them
  • a role which fits their abilities
  • positive feedback and recognition for work well done

A team that rates their manager highly in the above is more productive and profitable. Fair to say a manager can make a critical difference to staff retention, productivity levels and quality of work produced. So instead of controlling employees, micromanaging them and criticising them for their efforts, focus on helping staff to grow by giving constructive feedback and encouragement. I’ll bet all the managers out there are now mentally calculating how they stack up against Gallup’s findings!

Let’s take another step back though, to the job application process. What was your key motivation for applying for the job role at this point? A lot of you will have answered that you were keen to work for the hiring organisation. Understandable if the organisation in question was Google, Ferrari or even Coca-Cola. These are all well established market brands with exciting product evolutions and consumer marketing campaigns. They also look great on your resume. But how long an employee will remain with a company so eagerly sought will often come down to how well they are managed and how strong the relationship with their immediate supervisor is. If one of your shining stars walked out the front door and never returned after only six months with your organisation, what was the reason for their departure? A bad manager??

Astbury Marsden identifies some of the traits of a great manager includes:

1.Communicates performance expectations clearly to everybody involved
2. Gives employees access to the resources they require to do their job right
3. Frees people up to make a difference by focusing on what they do best
4. Recognises team members for their contributions and efforts

5. Makes everybody feel cared about as an individual
6. Helps people feel like they have a meaningful participation at work
7. Encourages employees to grow and develop
8. Gives employees responsibility and trusts them to get on with the task

It’s fair to conclude that the greatest source of an employee’s professional fulfilment is directly attributable to the leadership skills of their immediate supervisor. What a power to have! Wilson Learning Worldwide discovered that while there is a high correlation between employee satisfaction and performance, there is a higher correlation between leadership practices and employee satisfaction. Interesting. Wilson states that 39 percent of one’s bottom line performance can be attributed to employee fulfilment. How’s that bottom line of yours looking?

It seems surprising that the day to day interactions between a manager and their team can have such an influence on a company’s ultimate successes. It’s an ambition every business owner would like to realise, I’m sure. But a great culture of leadership and management is not stumbled upon by accident. For those who make it a priority to invest time and resources to create more leaders will move beyond the task of managing a business, they will create an organisation that is driven from the bottom up.

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SJ Personnel offer recruitment and HR services to businesses and candidates throughout Geelong, Surf Coast, The Bellarine and western Victoria region

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