I have a good friend who is weeks away from successfully matriculating a two-year residential substance abuse treatment program in Durham, North Carolina. The program is called TROSA, which stands for Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers.
As an aside, he will have also learned the equivalent of an MBA when it comes to managing people, every type imaginable in the workforce.
In addition to hours of therapy, TROSA teaches residents, who are willing, everything one needs to know to succeed in the workplace including how to work, how to adapt to organizational culture, how to resolve conflict, and how to be accountable.
But the organization also has an eye for identifying and nurturing people who have a talent for managing other people.
It isn’t based on tenure or non-managerial success in one of the many enterprises it uses to help fund the program and instill values. They have learned what Gallup researchers have proven.
Much more predictive of management success, according to Gallup’s research is talent.
It is the natural capacity one-in-ten people have for management, which they have found enables people to “learn a role faster” and “adapt to variance in a role more quickly” than those without it.
Another two-in-ten have what they call “functioning managerial talent.”
Tenure and success as an individual contributor, which is how most are promoted to management, don’t lend themselves to being in a management role.
As TROSA has learned as well, talent to become a manager has five dimensions as outlined in Gallup’s State of the American Manager Report:
Motivator – they perpetually challenge themselves and their teams to improve and perform.
Assertiveness – they overcome challenges, adversities and resistance.
Accountability – they ultimately assume responsibility for their teams’ success and create the structure and processes to help deliver on expectations.
Relationships – they build a positive, engaging work environment and shield it from infiltrators who aren’t engaged.
Decision-Making - They solve complex issues and problems inherent to the role of thinking ahead, planning for contingencies, balancing competing interests and taking an analytical approach.
Gallup quantifies the percentage of the American workforce that is engaged or just putting in time or actually working to undermine others or the organization.
But it also surveys to determine the proportion of managers who fall in those categories.
Managers overall are only slightly more prone to be engaged, which contributes, along with personal traits, to employees who are not engaged.
But the report finds that high-talent managers are twice as likely to be engaged as those with limited talent and engagement in a workforce, not just putting in time, is closely linked to a slew of positive business outcomes.
Engaged employees thrive under high-talent managers who are open and approachable, who manage performance continually rather than just with performance reviews, who help them set priorities and goals and who focus on strengths.
One of the most corrosive things an organization can do is to promote managers with limited talent for it and then tolerate those who are not engaged or even actively disengaged themselves.
Gallup has found that managers who work for highly engaged leaders are 39% more likely to be engaged themselves. Employees who work for engaged managers are 59% more likely to also be engaged.
One of the cruel hoaxes perpetrated on people in most careers or organizations is to make being a manager a stepping stone from tenure or being a good individual contributor.
The former should never be a consideration and the latter is where many people can continue to thrive and showcase their talents in other areas.
Subjecting them to managers who lack talent in the five dimensions Gallup research has identified is negligent. Leaving them trapped once a mistaken promotion has been discovered is near criminal.
I was rated highly as a leader, but guilty of both.