The quality of employee engagement is invariably a consequence of the management teams’ technical knowledge, behaviours and people skills. Often less than it could be as some managers may have been appointed because of their technical excellence; with but a glance as to their people interaction skills.
A solution is simple, but just not easy. Create an initiative that will raise the people skills of every manager in the organisation. No exceptions; mandatory attendance from top to bottom.
It should be in 3 parts.
- The announcement of the initiative; followed by a 6 skills based 360 degree survey for each manager
- A series of workshops based on understanding and improving the 6 skills competences; to be attended by all managers.
- Using the results of an individual’s 360, and their better understanding of the 6 skills from the workshop; set two or three new skill improvement objectives for the coming year. Discuss progress at the regular one2one progress and performance reviews throughout the year.
There are many skills required by managers but arguably none more important than engaging, motivating, inspiring and leading the individuals that make up their team.
Until the energy and intellect of all is engaged and focused, organisational performance will always disappoint.
These skills are the are the foundation for engaging with team members and creating a landscape of mutual trust and respect. They are not definitive, but they are found in everyone; in varying degrees of competence.
1 Leadership – An ability to create a vision and inspire others to realise it, irrespective of circumstances. Do I:-
- Gives staff a clear sense of direction and purpose?
- Motivate people to “buy into” plans, projects and ideas?
- Create a sense of responsibility amongst staff?
- Understands people’s needs, motivations and expectations?
- Keep in touch with how team members are feeling?
2 Influencing & Persuading – An ability to present sound and well-reasoned arguments to convince others. Do I:-
- Anticipate and provide sound arguments to support ideas and actions initiatives?
- Makes a clear presentation of ideas and counter-arguments without coming across as argumentative or attacking?
- Adopt a range of strategies and styles of influencing depending on circumstances?
- Check for agreement and readily identify those who are not genuinely convinced?
- Listen to other points of view to gain understanding?
3 Communication – The ability to get one’s message clearly understood by adopting a range of styles, tools and techniques appropriate to the audience and nature of the information. Do I:-
- Translate messages and puts them across appropriately for different audiences?
- Share the “why” behind strategy, decisions and changes?
- Listen, encourage discussion and check for understanding?
- Create an environment where people feel it is ‘safe to say what you think’?
- Regularly hold one2one reviews, team briefs and team meetings?
4 Managing Relationships – Able to build and maintain effective working relationships with a range of people. Do I:-
- Shows awareness, understanding and respect for other people’s needs?
- Value individual’s differences?
- Actively provide opportunities for others to participate in group situations?
- Have an ability to establish rapport quickly and effectively with new people?
- Proactively offers constructive feedback to others?
5 Judgement- Demonstrates balanced and objective judgement based on a thorough understanding of operational guidelines, customer needs, business and team objectives. Do I:-
- Have respect from others for my operational judgement?
- A talent for spotting exceptional people to recruit support and develop?
- Retain objectivity, when evaluating purpose, process and people?
- Have a thorough understanding of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour?
- Have a thorough understanding of acceptable and unacceptable technical competence?
6 Resilience – Can maintain personal effectiveness by managing own emotions in the face of pressure, setbacks or when dealing with provocative situations. Do I:-
- Handle interference or opposition and not take it personally?
- Know when it is appropriate to withdraw and deal with the situation at a later date?
- Keep problems in perspective?
- Know and use different ways of approaching persistent problems?
- Invest energy readily, even when dealing with mundane tasks, failure or criticism?
The purpose of this initiative is clear; to improve organisational performance it is necessary to improve managers’ people skills.
So we probably have to change the managers….. or perhaps change the managers.