How do leaders effectively engage their people as they pass the baton to managers (who most often have varying degrees of people-engagement skills)? It’s a risky business!
Leaders, Stop Doing Your Managers’ Jobs
In some cases, highly motivated leaders feel compelled to go around the less-charismatic managers, or even other leaders, to get their message – and the passion behind it – understood. Others hope that the messages are filtering down. I don’t think either method is a best practice I would want to encourage in leadership, especially in this fast-moving, competitive world. We don’t want our leaders spending too much time doing their managers’ jobs in the business; we want them working on the business.
What Leaders Should be Focused On
Successful leaders realize that defeating the competition is clearly more than driving numbers. Instead, it’s a lot more about how business is done to get those results. That’s what customers, employees, and your stakeholders buy into when they experience your brand and offer their loyalty to it. If this is so important to the business – and the leadership of that business – then don’t leave it to chance. Leaders should focus on ways to empower their managers.
Four Ways Leaders Can Empower Managers
Here are some ways leaders can ensure their managers engage their people to rally around the right things that will make a difference to employee engagement, the customer experience, and the long-term success of the company:
1. Make sure your strategy stacks up
Managers need an in-depth understanding of the strategy and to know what it means to them, their teams, and the business – think 3–5 years out.
2. Discuss the goals
Leaders must address the key goals (with metrics) that will bring that vision to life (keep goals to a minimum: financial, customer, internal process, employee, and organizational growth). Leaders must also provide a clear explanation of why each goal matters to realizing the vision and what must be done to achieve the goals together.
3. Create dialogue with the managers
The next-level leaders in the business must connect to the strategy in a way that is meaningful to managers. A common understanding and strategic narrative must exist between the two groups.
4. Empower managers to be co-owners
As co-owners of the strategy, managers can engage their teams to align behind the goals in a purposeful way, which translates into the right behaviors and actions. Leaders must involve managers in validating the goals and building the plan – their vantage point in the business will ensure your plans are believable and achievable, which matters to engagement, productivity, and your results!
Help Managers by Empowering Them
As leaders, you have a responsibility to empower your managers in the business strategy! With these strategic aspects clearly mapped out and articulated, your managers will see the logical connections and can begin to contribute to how they will be achieved. If you can help your managers flourish with confidence that they’re doing the right things, their passion will be infectious in a good way.