Is Your Leadership Team Asking the Right Questions?

Two articles popped up in a single morning about turnover and how this generally relates to ineffective managers or leaders and not the company’s perks, the mission, compensation or other factors that are sometimes blamed. If two articles on this topic appear simultaneously, this is still a big problem.  Why is poor management still so common?  Clearly, there is still much work to be done to improve workplace climate, and managers can lead the charge! Article One- Let’s Not Kid Ourselves: The Real Reason for Employee TurnoverArticle Two- Why People Come to Your Company For The Mission–And Leave For The Manager.

This got me thinking that there are many other areas that a bad manager can affect beyond turnover and its associated costs. But how would you know there is room for improvement? The key is you have to ask the right questions and not ignore the feedback or signs you are picking up. 

In one example in the article the CEO is puzzled why people would want to leave his organization but then after further consideration and reflection he determines that much of the turnover has been in Bob’s department. Could there possibly be a connection between Bob’s leadership style and the elevated turnover rates?? Most likely there is and once identified it could and should be addressed.  But you need the courage to look at yourself in the mirror – unless you ask the question you will never know what the potential problem is. You have probably guessed the question – sorry if it makes you squirm:  Are our managers the problem? 

Unfortunately, bad management can create multiple problems that have a negative impact on business results and profits but again unless you are open to investigating this and “asking the Right Question or Questions” you may never know the true problem and if you can’t identify this you cannot fix it or make improvements. 

Some further examples are below with suggested solutions in bold (easier said than done, no doubt, but this is a start):  

  1. Costs are up in department X. What could be the reason? It could be related to poor communication, misalignment of goals and priorities, etc. – all of which could be reduced by the proper efforts by the manager. Asking managers if employees know and understand the department priorities and how these priorities impact costs.
  2. We can’t get anyone to stay later for overtime or to get out that important business project summary to the client? Teamwork seems to be non-existent. Could the manager be influencing these factors through the way they conduct meetings, dismiss employee opinions and ideas, criticize employees for mistakes…? Can you ask managers to explain why employees are resistant to support projects that require discretionary effort? Feedback from employees on these issues can also be helpful.   
  3. Jenny and Sally have been in their job for over three years but why are we not seeing any growth and improvement in their performance? Could the manager help them with their goals by better supporting their career aspirations and interests and at the same time gain their commitment to improved performancce? Asking managers how they could achieve higher commitment to improvement and what support they would need would be a good start.
  4. Harry is a very productive employee and always meets his assignments on or ahead of the deadline.  However, his work is often fraught with mistakes and quality issues that require rework and time to correct. Is he unclear of the quality standards you expect? Could the manager take a more active role in coaching Harry on how to ensure work is completed right the first time and gain Harry’s commitment to this? You can ask the manager how they are approaching conversations with Harry about quality concerns and if coaching support and more regular conversations and feedback could help Harry.
  5. Innovation is critical to our business success but lately it seems in our manufacturing and engineering departments creative thinking and new efficiencies have decreased significantly. A closer look reveals that since the new manager came in employee ideas and suggestions have also dropped significantly. What has caused this? Could it be that the manager is not dealing with employee suggestions in a positive way by recognizing and appreciating the employees’ input and following up and responding to the employees on the viability of implementing their ideas? Ask the manager if they have a system of encouraging ideas from employees on how to tackle challenges and also how they are evaluating ideas and providing timely feedback.  

It is certainly not always a bad manager that contributes to performance issues but in many case poor leadership or people skills and actions can have tremendous impact on many aspects of employee performance and the value they bring to the organization.

These are just a few of many ways where a bad manager could have a negative effect on employee performance and business results.   But how would you know unless you take a closer look and Ask the Right Questions?  Perish the thought but if your organization is ignoring poor management or not helping managers get stronger, do you know what this is costing you?  Why is poor management being ignored? 

If your managers could use support to cultivate the best performance from their employees contact us, we can help!  Helping managers manage better through tools, coaching and training is what we do. 

Give us a call to learn how we can help your managers improve results.

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