The Role of A Manager: How to Set Yourself Up For Manager Success

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The research shows that 60% of managers fail within the first 24 months on the job.

Now, stop and think about that for a second. This means 6 of 10 manager peers you have will not be successful as a manager within their first two years.

That is an astounding statistic that has significant implications for every aspect of from culture to talent retention to engagement and to the bottom line. Performance is impacted. Engagement is impacted. The ability to deliver on financial returns, shareholder value and the strategic mission of the company is impacted.

If that is not enough, there is a direct correlation between the high rate of manager failures and employee engagement. Employee engagement research shows us that the manager has the biggest impact on an employee’s engagement, whether pushing the needle in the positive or negative direction.

We know from research that people leave managers. According to Gallup, 75% of employees who leave companies leave because of their direct boss. 75%! That’s a real problem and weighty for the manager. According to McLean & Company, a disengaged employee costs an organization approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary. Disengaged employees cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year due to lost productivity.

So, why are 60% of managers failing to survive and thrive and help drive the business value from their teams?

Now, failure does not necessarily mean they are no longer managers or fired from their job. That could be the case, but failure here could mean several things. Failure as a manager could mean:

  • They have not delivered the expected business results as a manager
  • They show up every day feeling like they are not equipped or positioned to be successful as a manager in their organization
  • They could feel like they are dominated by the tyranny of the urgent and cannot break free long enough to focus on the important items on their list of tasks
  • Their team is disengaged, dysfunctional and not efficient
  • Their team is not growing and developing
  • They have high turnover on their team and cannot stop the talent leak

There are many other symptoms that drive this 60% failure data point but there is one main driver that is causing this drain on organizations.

This derailment is caused not by things managers know they need to learn but rather by things they did not realize had changed as a result of becoming a manager. As a result, they did not change the way they think, act, lead, manage, etc. They just keep doing the same things that got them promoted in the first place instead of adapting and adjusting to the new demands and expectations that come with their new manager position.

There is a mind-shift that needs to happen for a manager to drive success. New skills are needed. New mental models are needed. New frameworks need to be learned and implemented. What made the manager a rock star individual contributor is most likely not the same attributes that will make them a rock star manager.

So how do we break this trend and mitigate this risk?

I think it starts with setting clear expectations and helping the manager frame what it really means to be a manager so they know where their focus should be invested. It is giving the manager a framework that will help them manage their activities and ensure they are investing time in each of the focus areas of a manager that will drive success.

The (3) focus areas of a manager will be unpacked over the next few articles and can help a manager drive activities that lead to success, but before we dive in there is a key that unlocks the entire framework. The (3) focus areas are in an intentional order. The tendency is to jump to the third focus area and focus all attention there. The third focus area is most likely where all the external pressure comes from. My guess is when your boss engages you, it is related to the third focus area and not the first two, unless there is a problem. That is just the nature of the landscape we operate in.

With that said, it is important to focus on all three and see the sequential importance and connection between the (3) focus areas.

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Over the next few articles, we will unpack these (3) focus areas that set a manager up for optimal success:

Here is access to our YouTube playlist discussing the (3) focus areas of a manager. Check these out for additional insights — Playlist Link

Leader. Storyteller. My passion is to inspire and instruct others on how to go further faster and live their purpose.

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