Last week I read about the sad findings in Gallop’s most recent “State of the
American Manager” Report. It’s an interesting – if depressing – read. It got me thinking about the core skills of
management talent. These are:
* Decision Making
According to the report, the majority of managers fail every one. On the face
of it they do not look that complicated, so let’s examine them and try and see
where most managers are going wrong.
1. Motivator: They challenge themselves and their teams to continually improve
and deliver distinguished performance.
You’d think that this capability should be found in most management candidates.
It is not hard to see if someone is interested in accomplishment and
improvement. Just look at their past history and how they have improved
2. Assertiveness: They overcome challenges, adversities and resistance.
Have you put someone in a role where they will be overwhelmed? How big are they
for the role? You need someone who can get the arms around their management
role. If they feel overwhelmed they will find it hard to be assertive.
The choice to put them in a role is the sum of their manager’s discretion.
Often this discretion gets undermined by weak objective measurements that
enable shoddy thinking and poor choices.
3. Accountability: They ultimately assume responsibility for their teams ‘
success and create the structure and processes to help their teams deliver on
If you hold a manager accountable for the outputs of their employees you will
get the above. There can be no “Teflon Management” if a manager is held
accountable for their team’s output. “There is nobody else to blame for poor
performance so I had better get on with building the best team I can and support
them with the required structure and processes”
4. Relationships: They build a positive, engaging work environment where their
teams create strong relationships with one another and clients.
All of us know and can judge if someone can build relationships. How dare you
put managers in charge of people when they don’t like people!!!! It just a
fundamentally flawed decision that builds dark satanic mills – awful places to
work. It is unconscionable act of lousy management
5.Decision-Making: They solve the many complex issues and problems inherent to
the role of thinking ahead, planning contingencies, balancing competing interest
and taking an analytical approach.
They need a brain to do this! Do not put a manager in a role who is not capable
of handling the complexity the work. They will be overwhelmed, unable to sort
things out and delegate effectively to their employees. These employees will
also work out quickly that their manager is “too stupid” for the role and cannot
help or team them much if anything. It raises the odds of them disengaging from
their work pretty fast.
The truth is that none of this matters much unless the CEO and their Executive
really engage and care about structuring work of their company and staffing it
with right management capability and holding them accountable for effective
performance. And, while the five dimensions of effective management might
appear common sense, Gallup says that in a whopping 82 percent of cases
organizations choose fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the
This is an abdication of CEO Management. It is a shame and creates a wasteland
of human talent as described by Gallop in their 2015 report. The sad fact is
that as ill equipped most managers in large organizations are, it starts with a
basic CEO skills gap.
Closing that gap MUST be the priority for the majority of large organizations.