It’s the Manager: Moving From Boss to Coach – Book Excerpts


While the world’s workplace has been going through extraordinary historical change, the practice of management has been stuck in time for more than 30 years.

The new workforce – especially younger generations – wants their work to have deep mission and purpose, and they don’t want old-style command-and-control bosses. They want coaches who inspire them, communicate with them frequently, and develop their strengths.

Who is the most important person in your organization to lead your teams through these changes? Decades of global Gallup research reveal: It’s your managers. They are the ones who make or break your organization’s success.

When you build great managers — ones who can maximize the potential of every team member — you will see organic revenue and profit growth, and you will deliver to a every one of your employees what they most want today: a great job and a great life. This is the future of work.

What Makes A Difference In An Organization

70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager. When you have great managers who can maximize the potential of every team member, you have delivered on the new global will which is a great job and a great life.

Inspirational messages are important but they’ll have no significant impact unless leaders build a strategy to bring multiple teams together and make great decisions.

Not Just A Job

Millennials and Generation Z want a purpose, not just a paycheck. They are no longer pursuing job satisfaction—they are pursuing development. They don’t want bosses—they want coaches. They don’t want annual reviews—they want ongoing conversation. They don’t want a manager who fixates on their weaknesses. They want a job that is no longer a job—they want a life.

Organizational Change Is Hard

The old boss-to-employee, command-and-control leadership environment has “worked” when it comes to building process-efficiency systems, engineering large building and creating infrastructure. But the top-down leadership techniques of the past have not adapted to a workplace that now demands coaching and collaboration to thrive.

Make Great Decisions

Beyond luck, which some right decisions are attributed to, there are three keys to success:

  • Leaders know their limits, meaning their strengths and weaknesses.
  • They apply critical thinking and identify high-risk blind sides.
  • They use analytics-driven evidence.

Organizational Culture

Culture begins with your purpose, meaning why you are in business. It lives or dies day to day through your managers. Culture determines your brand which is how employees and customers view your company. A world-class culture inspires your most talented employees to create superior customer experiences. When an organization makes a brand promise but fails to deliver, it loses credibility with customers and especially employees.

An organization’s performance improves when its employees understand what differentiates its brand.

Hiring Analytics: The Solution

There are five general innate traits/tendencies that predict performance across job types. They are motivation (drive for achievement), work style (efficiently organizing work), initiation (taking action), collaboration (building partnerships), and thought process (solving problems through assimilation of new information).

Four criteria for successful hiring.

(1) Prior experiences and achievements,

(2) Innate tendencies,

(3) Multiple interviews, and

(4) On-the-job observation.

Strengths-Based Conversations

Traditional performance management is set up to rank and rate employees and to “correct” their weaknesses. This approach often fails to actually improve performance. So how can managers know the right balance between praise and criticism for employees? A serious review of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses is essential to exceptional career development.

To inspire exceptional performance, managers have to lead with meaningful feedback based on what each person naturally does best. Employees in today’s workforce expect their managers to coach them—primarily based on their strengths.

Five Steps to Building a Strengths-Based Culture

Organizations and teams with strengths-based cultures consistently outperform their competitors, but knowing everyone’s strengths is not enough to create change.

It takes ongoing conversations, reflection and practice to successfully integrate strengths into your organization’s daily routines.

(1) Start with the CEO or it doesn’t work.

(2) Require every employee to discover their strengths.

(3) Build an internal network of strengths coaches.

(4) Integrate strengths into performance management.

(5) Transform your learning programs to maximize the time each person uses to improve competencies.

The Exit

Every company experiences good turnover and bad turnover.

What does a successful exit look like?

(1) The employee feels heard.

(2) The employee leaves feeling proud of their contribution.

(3) You create a brand ambassador.

The experiences and interactions people have during their employee life cycle in your organization will determine your retention of star employees and ultimately your employment brand. All this depends on how well your managers coach each person you hire.

The Three Requirements To Make Managers Into Coaches

Transform your managers into coaches by teaching them to meet these three requirements:

(1) Establish expectations.

(2) Continually coach.

(3) Create accountability.

Employees whose managers involved them in setting goals were nearly four times more likely to be engaged than other employees. Employees who receive daily feedback from their manager are three times more likely to be engaged than those who receive feedback once a year or less.

Performance measurement needs to be paired with individualized development to keep it connected to business goals in the employee’s mind.

The Money And The Position

Pay and promotion discussions need to be consistent with the development and real career progress.

While pay is a personal matter, criteria for pay increases and promotions should be transparent. Don’t use forced rankings to determine pay or promotion for small groups, assuming each team has high, middle and low performers. Generally, most employees want some form of incentive pay and they want autonomy and influence over their pay. When your employees have high well-being, they perform better, so make financial well-being an organizational responsibility

Make “My Development” The Reason Employees Stay

The No. 1 reason people change jobs today is “career growth opportunities.” Experts recommend offering ambitious and productive employees these new paths for advancement beyond becoming a manager:

(1) individual achievement as a manager or high-performing contributor,

(2) personalized development toward a career path and

(3) flexible career paths with different options for different stages of life.

Creating a Culture of High Development

Two-thirds of U.S. employees have been either not engaged or actively disengaged in their jobs and workplaces during this time. A high-development workplace requires much more than just administering surveys. Measurement on its own doesn’t inspire change or boost performance or improve the workplace or business outcomes.

A culture of high employee development is the most productive environment for your employees. High-development cultures are CEO and board initiated, educate managers on new ways of managing, practice companywide communication and hold managers accountable.

The Five Traits of Great Managers

About half of great managing is rooted in hardwired tendencies, and the other half comes from experiences and ongoing development. Great managers inspire teams to get exceptional work done, set goals and align resources for the team to excel, influence others to act by pushing through adversity and resistance, build committed teams with deep bonds, and take an analytical approach to strategy and decision-making.

How to Develop Your Managers

Managing isn’t a great experience for most people. Work is worth more for them than for the people they manage. Managers report more stress and burnout, worse work-life balance, and worse physical well-being than the individual contributors on the teams they lead.

Gallup recommends development programs consistent with building a strengths-based culture, shifting from being a boss to being more like a coach, and requiring executives to have strengths-based conversations once a week with each manager or team leader.

Diversity And Inclusion

Diversity categories include race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, disability, lifestyle, personality characteristics, height, weight, other physical characteristics, family composition, educational background, tenure with the organization, political ideology, and worldview which essentially constitutes the full spectrum of human differences.

How does a leader address them all?

The solution lies in how your employees feel about three requirements. “Treat me with respect,” “Value me for my strengths,” “Leaders will do what is right.”

The Gender Gap

Organizations globally need a much higher proportion of women in the workplace, not just because it benefits women, but because it’s good for business. Gender-balanced work groups have a greater capability to get work done and meet customers’ needs.

On average, women are more engaged than men, and female managers tend to have more engaged employees than male managers. The top challenges facing women who work at paid jobs fall under these three areas: unfair treatment, pay inequity, and work-life flexibility.

Women in the Workplace: Work-Life Flexibility

Almost universally, men and women mention “balance between work and family” as one of the top challenges that working women in their countries face. Whether an organization offers flexibility and whether it actually honours flexibility are two different things.

Some organizations have an explicit policy about flexibility, yet they implicitly pressure employees to be in the office or make them feel guilty for leaving work to take care of family matters during the day.

Each individual employee—women as well as men—defines what a good life and career mean for them.

Benefits, Perks and Flextime

Employees in the new workforce aren’t looking for amenities such as game rooms, free food and fancy latte machines. They are looking for benefits and perks that will improve their well-being, meaning those that offer them greater flexibility, autonomy and the ability to lead a better life.

U.S. employees are the most likely to change jobs for health insurance, which is an expense that, for most, is increasing and cutting into their discretionary income. More than half would change jobs for bonuses, a retirement plan, paid vacation or flextime.

The New Office

Today’s employees demand autonomy and flexibility right down to where they work and how their workspace is designed and arranged. Slightly more than half of American workers say they would change jobs for one that offered them more flexibility.

More than one-third would change jobs for one that allowed them to work where they want at least part of the time. The three office features employees want are privacy when they need it, personal workspace, and having their own office.

How to Manage—and Nurture—Creativity

Creativity in organizations is essential. Many organizations say they want their employees to be highly creative. Yet most employees don’t believe that they’re expected to be creative or think of new ways to do things, even though every job has the potential for creativity. No one is closer to the job than the individuals doing it.

Even when employees strongly agree that they’re expected to be creative, only half of them are given time each day to do so or believe they can take the risks required to be creative.

From the book:-
It's the Manager: Moving From Boss to Coach by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top