Most leaders think they’re great managers. Their employees disagree.

Daily Briefing

Most leaders think they’re great managers. Their employees disagree.

The role of managers has changed significantly over the years, Riia O’Donnell writes for HR Dive.

In the past, managers were mostly responsible for ensuring that work got done, and correctly. Their primary tasks were observation, assessment, and correction.

Now, managers are responsible for engaging and retaining employees. Their tasks now include coaching and mentorship. But training for managers hasn’t kept up with this workforce shift, O’Donnell argues. Many organizations expect new managers to figure out how to communicate and motivate on their own—but according to a recent survey, it’s not happening, she writes.

The survey was released in December 2017 by Ultimate Software and The Center for Generational Kinetics and included responses from more than 2,000 U.S. workers.

The survey provides more evidence that managers are critical to employee retention. Around 93% of respondents said their level of trust in their boss determines how satisfied they are at work. More than half said they would rather stay with a great boss than receive a 10% pay increase.

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However, managers are overconfident about their management skills, the survey found. While 80% of managers say they’re transparent with their employees, only 55% of employees agree they have a transparent manager. And while 71% of managers say they know how to motivate their team, only 44% of employees agree.

And although 45% of managers say they never received formal training, few of them acknowledged gaps in their skills. Just 16% say they frequently make mistakes, and less than a third admit they aren’t sure what to do in personnel situations.

The survey results are a sign that organizations need to invest more in manager training—and not just for new managers—if they want to improve employee retention, O’Donnell writes.

“The old adage, ‘great managers are born, not made,’ couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Summer Salomonsen, Chief Learning Officer at Grovo, a micro-learning platform.

Training for new managers is fairly common, but experts emphasize that tenured managers also need to upgrade their skills as they encounter changes to their teams and strategic priorities. The focus should be on “continuous learning and development,” says Adam Rogers, chief technology officer at Ultimate Software (O’Donnell, HR Dive, 12/19/17; Ultimate Software release, 12/4/17).

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