What your employees really think about their managers — or YOU

I attended the Chicago Vistage All-City recently, where hundreds of Vistage business owners got together for an all-day conference of workshops and networking.

Dave Hibbard was one of the keynote speakers and opened up his talk with a really interesting study that his company, Dialexis, conducted on corporations around the U.S over the last 15 years. They interviewed the employees asking “If you were running the company, what would you do differently?”

They found 10 “top-ranking concerns” from their study that the employees expressed in their responses, leaving a lot of the business owners in the room a bit surprised and wondering what their employees thought of their managers — or rather — them.

1. Lack of respect of management – overall.
2. Lack of respect for management’s leadership ability.
3. Lack of management follow-through.
4. Lack of appreciation from management.
5. Lack of direction from management.
6. Management lacks unity.
7. Management has favorites/special rules.
8. Management doesn’t build teamwork.
9. Management is poor at communicating.
10. Management does not inspire.

If you don’t think this could be prevalent at your company, you’re wrong. The study found that only 13% of the companies they studied did not have these concerns. Chances are, your employees probably experience these things, too — whether it’s from your managers, or you.

To me, this sounds like managers don’t have the skills, experience or training to be leaders.

If you have employees in management positions — jobs that are in charge/manage other employees — they’re leaders in your organization. They manage (lead) those who report (follow) to them. They don’t just make sure their subordinates meet deadlines and don’t take long lunch breaks; they make sure their people have what they need to be successful so they can inspire, motivate, and engage your people.

They are team-builders, culture-shapers, and vision-communicators of your company. Their responsibilities are not just limited to making sure the work gets done from your people, but Hibbard says they should help them reach their own personal goals and help them reach them.

When you are looking to hire or promote an employee to a management position, regardless if they’ll be managing 1 or 50 people, do you look for leadership qualities? “Ability to lead” should be in their job qualifications. If they don’t have leadership experience, look for leadership potential. And then give them the training.

So how do you know if your managers are good leaders? Survey your employees to uncover company problems, and see how your management team is leading the company.

Key takeaways:

  • When hiring or promoting an employee to a management position, ALWAYS look for leadership experience or potential
  • Add leadership into your training and development plans for managers.
  • Hold your leaders accountable — survey your employees to see how your managers are performing.

As a business owner, you are responsible for putting people in leadership positions. And you are responsible for leading your management team. Do your managers have those same 10 “top-ranking concerns” about YOU?

Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.