Because everyone should dig their job

The Under-Management Epidemic

By Bruce Tulgan

 
There has been so much talk about the engagement of workers: Are your employees "engaged" or not? But the key factor affecting employee engagement is the relationship employees have with their immediate supervisors. 
 
The question you should be asking is this: Are your managers "engaged" or not? From our ongoing research, we have become convinced that an "under-management epidemic" is afflicting the workplace. Too many of those in leadership positions, at all levels, are disengaged from their direct reports on a day to day basis. 
 
Why? Even while managers juggle their own tasks and responsibilities, supervisory spans of control have been steadily increasing. And that's on top of a growing list of administrative duties. Meanwhile, managers struggle to deal with the complex personal dynamics of an ever-changing workforce. And then there's all that red tape to cut through. These are some of the very real reasons why managers claim they don't have enough time or resources to provide direct reports with the regular support, direction, and coaching required in today's high-pressure workplace. But I think an even bigger reason is that a lot of managers lack the guts and the skill to be hands-on leaders. They hide behind myriad of excuses, as well as a fundamental misinterpretation of empowerment theory, conflating hands-on management with so-called "micromanagement." 
 
What are the consequences? Hands-off managers....
1. Are under-informed about the details of their direct-reports' work
2. Cannot help direct-reports anticipate and solve problems before they occur
3. Don't help direct-reports identify and meet resource needs in advance
4. Fail to create clear expectations and standards
5. Are not in a position to set ambitious, but achievable, goals and deadlines
6. Miss routine opportunities to provide on-the-job training
7. Do not fairly and accurately monitor and measure performance
8. Are not in a position (and don't keep sufficient documentation) to tie rewards and detriments to measurable instances of employee performance
9. Soft-pedal authority until they let loose with outbursts of anger
10. Spend more time on low level tasks because they fail to delegate well
11. Attract and hire more mediocre and low performers
12. Push away high performers
 
Ultimately, the under-management epidemic is costing organizations greatly in productivity and quality. Lots of money is being left on the table every day because too many managers are not marshalling the time, the guts, and the skill to take charge and provide the day to day leadership necessary to drive performance and meet employees' needs. So, what are you going to do about it?