The idea that managers play a critical role in creating engaged workforces is not new.
In fact, the concept that an inspired workforce is more effective than one that is not has been around since at least the 1950s. Great leaders probably have intuitively known it for ages.
The role that managers play in this engagement is well studied. However, organizations rarely train managers to engage with their employees. If an engaged employee is one who is fully involved in and enthusiastic about his or her work — and therefore has an emotional attachment to the results — then two questions come to mind:
- What skills, knowledge, and behaviors do managers need to master to create engagement on their teams?
- What development will help managers master these skills, this knowledge, and these behaviors?
Most organizations focus management development on developing technical skills, providing only basic soft-skill development, such as coaching skills. Don’t get me wrong — this type of training is absolutely necessary. But managers also need to complement and integrate that training with skills, knowledge, and behaviors that develop employee engagement.
In addition, this type of development can’t end with new manager training. Sustaining a culture of highly involved, enthusiastic, and fully committed employees requires the continued development of mangers, to ensure they have all the necessary tools and skills.