5/6/14 9:56 AM Rebecca Whittenberger

businessman and paper work employee engagement Why is employee engagement so low these days? The answer is bad management.

In the little article Why Are Good Managers in Such Short Supply?, SHRM’s HR Magazine reveals why good managers are few and far between.


Managing requires certain qualities

There are a lot of bad managers because they don’t really have the natural talent to be good ones. The article states that only 1 in 10 employees have all the required traits to be good mangers. Some of these traits include:

  • being able to motivate others,
  • being simultaneously assertive and diplomatic,
  • and keeping people accountable while still maintaining good relationships.

So, if only one tenth of employees actually have these traits, why do they become managers?

Selecting managers using the right criteria

One reason so many unqualified people become managers, according to the article, is because they were chosen based on their performance in non-managerial positions. They did well in another position, so they get promoted to management.

Another reason some people get chosen for management is simply because of their duration with the company, not because they exhibited any talent for people management or effective communication.

When you choose managers based on anything other than talent, the results will be dismal.

Linking management with employee engagement

According to Gallup research (reported in this same article), 70% of the changes in employee engagement scores are linked with managers. This means that a lot of the blame for low employee morale falls on bad managers. According to a couple of studies by Gallup (2012), only a third of U.S. workers qualify as being “engaged” at their jobs.

To put it simply, bad management reduces employee engagement. And employee engagement is crucial to improving productivity and raising your company’s financial bottom line.

Learning to manage better

So, until the hiring of managers is based solely on talent, can current managers learn to be better ones?

Fortunately, some can. About 20% of current managers, says the article, show basic talent for it and “can function at a higher level with coaching.” (For more tips on performance coaching, check out this blog post.)

Not surprisingly, learning to become a better manager means becoming a better communicator.

This list with best practice tips in management communication will help you get started right away.

Download FREE Communication Checklist

Rebecca Whittenberger