Reaching for Success ladder

For several decades, Root has both studied and counseled prominent organizations around the world. Leading companies – regardless of industry – have many things in common. But the one that stands out the most and has the highest probability of making a significant impact is the presence of high-performing managers.

Root’s research shows that while organizations don’t always invest in the training or education that produces high performers, many managers end up being high performers anyway. Here are their hiring, training, employee engagement, and customer experience secrets*:


hire based on someone’s personality and drive, and mold them to be high performers themselves.

Root’s research reveals that just 60% of all managers decide who to add to their teams based on personality and drive. But every high-performing manager knows what to look for in potential employees, so they hire people they can mold into high performers as well. The more high performers, the better!


value shadowing as part of training to build a broader sense of the business, set clear expectations, and build confidence.

Sadly, less than one third (30%) of all managers think their employees learn more and better by watching others who’ve been around longer. And their companies aren’t creating the circumstances for shadow-learning to occur. But high-performing managers make it their business to help employees gain a greater understanding of the organization and their role within it by using shadowing as part of training.


verbally recognize their employees regularly, which lets them know they’re valued for their hard work as individuals.

Root’s research shows that, generally 71% of managers make an effort to recognize their employees, but nearly all high performers make it a regular part of their routine. Praise is one of the biggest motivators at work and when employees hear that what they’re doing is working, there’s usually more success to come.


engage their employees individually to build a relationship and know how best to train, coach, and work with them.

When managers make it their business to connect with employees one-on-one, the opportunities for growth multiply. By forging individual relationships, managers are better able to help their people tweak their performance and deliver results.


provide real-time and regular feedback to their teams.

People want feedback. They want to know how they’re doing and whether what they’re doing is making a difference. High-performing managers speak to their teams early and often about the work they’re doing and how it fits into the big picture.


prioritize working directly with customers over all other tasks.

When it comes to making or breaking business success, customers hold the most weight. Their delight or displeasure can mean the difference between a business that thrives or one that dies. That’s why nearly every high-performing manager believes that working directly with customers is one of the most important things they can do for the business.

Any manager can be a high-performing manager. With a little empowerment, maybe some risk-taking, and a strong belief in yourself and your team, you can become one and create others. Take a cue from what these high performers are already doing and see what happens in your own company.

Start developing high performing managers today!

*The information in this blog post is based on ethnographic study of 96 managers in a diverse set of industries between 2013 and 2017.

January 23, 2018


I want to hear how you can help my organization align on and activate our strategy. Call me, today.

*Required fields. By submitting this form you agree to receive emails from Root Inc. and can unsubscribe at any time.