In a recent blog post we discussed how according to the 2014 State of the American Workplace research by Gallup, managers play the most significant role in driving employee engagement d satisfaction. With this knowledge it is easy to see how important it is to hire and retain great managers. But this Gallup research also shows a fatal flaw in most organizations when it comes to hiring the right managers. According to the research, American businesses hire the wrong people to be managers 82% of the time. That is astounding. It is also likely one of the key reasons why only 30% of employees are actively engaged at their workplace.puzzle

So why is the failure rate so high when it comes to hiring great managers? Traditionally, in our culture and many others across the globe, employees are promoted into management positions because of longevity with the company or great skill in their current position. But someone’s ability to do their current job well does not mean they will possess the necessary skills to be great manager or even that they could be developed into a great manager. Gallup’s research has found that the traits necessary to be a successful manager are rare. Only between 10 and 20 percent of people possess most of the necessary traits to naturally engage, retain and motivate employees. What are these traits?

Gallup finds that great managers have the following talents:

  • They motivate every single employee to take action and engage employees with a compelling mission and vision.
  • They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  • They create a culture of clear accountability.
  • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  • They make decisions based on productivity, not politics.

Another thing to consider is whether the employee even has a desire to be a manager. In their research Gallup also found numerous organizations where employees accepted management positions because they felt was thinly way they could retain a job at their company, or that it was the only opportunity for advancement. But not everyone wants to be a manager and individuals not suited for their role easily become disengaged themselves and will not be able to engage their subordinate employees.

What do you think about this Gallup research? What traits do you look for in your managers? Share with us.