Employee engagement is crucial to profitability, productivity, quality, safety and staff retention, according to Gallup research, which also shows that behind most high-performing employees are strong managers. In particular, Gallup indicates that only 30 percent of U.S. employees are engaged at work, while managers account for at least 70 percent of variance in employee engagement scores across business units.
One reason for the problem is that individuals are often put into managerial positions for the wrong reasons, such as success in a previous non-managerial role or tenure in the company. While it is possible and often necessary to train new managers to lead, companies could save billions by hiring more talented managers in the first place.
Indeed, nearly eight in 10 healthcare businesses admitted to making bad hiring decisions in 2012, according to a survey from CareerBuilder.
According to Gallup findings, executives should seek out leaders that possess naturally as many of the following traits possible:
- Ability to motivate and engage each employee
- Assertiveness to drive outcomes and overcome obstacles
- Willingness to create a culture of clear accountability
- Knack for building relationships
- Ability to make decisions based on productivity rather than politics
The catch, however, is that only about one in 10 people have all of these traits, according to Gallup, while two in 10 have some of them (and can perform at high level with the right support).
"The good news is that sufficient management talent exists in every company--it's often hiding in plain sight," wrote Harvard Business Review bloggers Randall Beck and James Harter. "Leaders should maximize this potential by choosing the right person for the next management role using predictive analytics to guide their identification of talent."