How to manage IT employee engagement? That is a question that every ambitious manager and company leader asks for himself. We do not have to convince you that the well-known Google brand is the model and trendsetter here. In 2008, it initiated a survey to check how employees perceive managers’ roles and whether a company needs them.
The project called Oxygen showed that a manager is one of the critical elements of the team’s high performance. ‘Having a good manager is essential, like breathing. If we make managers better, it would be like a breath of fresh air. ‘ said Michelle Donovan, one of the research promoters. Based on the results’ analysis, the technological giant has compiled a list of features that characterize a great leader. Check if they correlate with your vision of how to manage IT to increase employee engagement in practice.
Features of a true leader
According to Google, the best managers:
- are good trainers,
- support the team and do not deal with micro-management,
- create an inclusive work environment, i. e. , care for the success and well-being of team members,
- are productive and results-oriented,
- have high communication skills – they listen and share information,
- support employee development and discuss their achievements,
- have a clear vision of the groups,
- have the necessary technical skills,
- cooperate with other teams,
- can make decisions.
You have probably noticed that interpersonal skills, not professional knowledge, dominate the Google list. Notably, soft skills are not innate but acquired. Therefore, Google and other companies invest in developing desirable qualities in managers because they know that they can educate them and ensure better results.
Are you doing the same?
Do you develop your managers so that they are ready to engage teams?
How to manage to increase commitment
The Gallup Institute, which has conducted extensive research on the effective use of people’s potential in organizations, is alarming that only 15% of employees are engaged in work. Jim Clifton, Gallup’s CEO, co-author of ‚It’s the Manager: Moving from Boss to Coach, ‘ in his interview, has no hesitation in pointing to the source of that. ‘It’s the manager. Period. Leaders everywhere in the world tend to name the wrong person manager and then train them on administrative things – not how to maximize human potential. ‘
So how to strengthen employee engagement? One way is to improve their status through promotion and a raise. That is usually the first thing that comes to mind by many leaders. However, not everyone can make such an offer.
Gallup researchers indicate that improving status does not have to be related to a better financial situation. Appreciating a job well done and enabling development is equally important. It has been known for a long time that employee involvement increases significantly when the leader focuses on their advantages, not disadvantages. An effective manager’s priority should be to identify employees’ strengths, improve their skills, and give them the freedom to perform tasks in which they are right. Note that enabling development is a great manager’s primary task, also indicated in the Deloitte report. The same study shows that effective team management should be based on a culture of feedback, not on an outdated employee evaluation system that often generates fear and stress and reduces team members’ performance.
So how to manage? Can employee appreciation, development, and a feedback culture be enough?
Management is everyone’s responsibility
Contemporary trends in team management have redefined the manager’s role. Instead of the boss giving orders, he should be a mentor, coach, or trainer who listens, supports, and helps develop. However, managing a team in this approach is still based on the company’s hierarchical structure, where people in higher positions have more decision-making power.
Jurgen Appelo, the creator of the Management 3.0 concept, goes one step further. According to him, the managers’ most common mistake is treating the organization as machines, top-down designed and consisting of‚ human resources’ with strictly defined roles.
Apello believes that companies resemble a living urban fabric because the shape and changes taking place in the city are influenced by all units’ actions and, above all, the interactions between them. According to Appelo, management is not the domain of managers or leaders – it is a group responsibility. So it is not related to a specific position but a mode of action. In practice, Management 3.0 is based on employees’ ability to make decisions, take the initiative, and create their work. Teams are selforganized and work together to find the most effective solutions together. Managers’ role is to manage the system, not people, thus supporting the company in achieving clearly defined goals. A critical factor in this approach is all team members’ involvement and responsibility for the company. Jurgen Appelo’s concept is not a new theory of team management but rather a set of practices applied to varying degrees in companies using agile methodologies. It used to be the IT industry domain, but other sectors have been opening up to the Agile approach. What is more, Management 3.0 is also in perfect harmony with the assumptions of turquoise organizations.
Are you ready to put into practice all the modern trends in team management?
Depending on their structure, size, and industry in which they operate, companies have different approaches to the managerial role. Undoubtedly, good team management has a crucial impact on employees’ efficiency and commitment, and without that, it isn’t easy to achieve satisfactory results for the company.
That is confirmed by Deloitte’s research, which shows that companies with a more advanced approach to developing leaders spend up to three times more on this type of activity than their competitors. As a result, the company’s income per employee is 37% higher, and the innovation rate is five times higher.
The numbers prove that it is worth investing in managers’ development because ‚A good manager is essential like a breathing’ – he can lead a committed and responsible team for company’s success.