You’re Ignoring Your Managers — and Four Ways to Fix It

2 min read
Jun 8, 2015

You’re Ignoring Your Managers — and Four Ways to Fix ItMy company recently partnered with research firm Kelton for the second time to find out what makes today’s workforce tick, what’s good, what’s missing, and how we can all do better. The full findings of our latest collaboration were released in the study America’s Workforce: A Revealing Study of Corporate America’s Most Neglected Employee.

I have to admit, the data uncovered is kind of scary. Depressing, actually. If the title didn’t clue you in, the study concludes that managers are underappreciated, undervalued, and tragically under-trained. [Sigh.] Here are just a few of the findings:

  • 47% of respondents believe their company’s finance department sees manager training as a “box to check” and not an important investment to evolve a company
  • A whopping 69% of respondents reported that their leadership doesn’t see an extremely strong link between effective manager training and business performance
  • Respondents confirmed that less than half of manager trainings are focusing on building true leadership skills such as: team management (46%), coaching (35%), or delegation capabilities (25%)


I believe that managers can have a multiplier effect on business — if you have great managers, you’re in for a great ride. After all, managers are the link between leadership and frontline employees. They mentor new hires, motivate teams, and help employees figure out how to do their jobs better. However, if managers aren’t being valued by senior leaders and if they’re not being trained to be their best ... well, it seems things aren’t looking so good for them. For their teams. Or for your business.

But if you’re like me and you believe managers are critical business assets, are worthy of being supported by the C-suite, and deserve the knowledge and skills to be great, then you’re willing to invest in them, right? I thought so! Well, to help get you started, here are four actions to put into motion ASAP.

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Teach people skills: Make sure you have a Manager Development Program that includes job-specific skills and people skills like team management, coaching, and delegation capabilities.

Layered training: Managers must move from setting expectations to providing feedback to coaching to conflict resolution and more without missing a beat. Trainings need to incorporate these skills in a single foundational program. Separate courses just won’t work.

Focus on engagement: Managers must understand the business strategy (leaders, this is your job) and how they and their teams contribute. When managers can communicate the big picture  and connect each team member and their daily work to bigger goals  engagement goes from myth to reality.

Prioritize sustainment: According to the America’s Workforce study, only 18% of people responsible for manager training strongly feel that they’ve been successful at sustainment, and 67% don’t have strong faith that sustaining manager training is even possible in their organization. But sustainment is everything to training. If managers aren’t held accountable and expected to bring their new skills to the table every day, then you’ve wasted time and budget.

Want to read more? Download the complete “America’s Workforce” study here.



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