Companies, according to a recent Gallup poll, choose the wrong manager 82% of the time. The study was done interviewing over a 27 million employees and 2.5 million work units. Managers account for at least 70% of employee engagement scores in the different work units.

Gallup found that great managers have the following talents:

  • Motivation: They motivate every employee to take action and engage with a compelling vision and mission
  • Assertiveness: They drive outcomes with ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  • Accountability: They bring up and push a culture of clear accountability.
  • Relationships: Their interactions with their staff creates trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  • Decision Making: Productivity is what drives decisions, not politics.

So what are some common mistakes that managers make, and how can you improve on them?

Team Building Exercises as the best way to build trust

Of course, trust is an essential part of a good team. But team building exercises, especially the stereotypical ones of running around on a field are great for only some teams.

What you should do instead is promote vulnerability and honesty as the manager. Lead from the front, listen to your staff, be transparent about why you make a decision, and then act on it.

Not communicating well enough how someone impacts the bigger picture

Managers might know the bigger picture, might understand how each person's tasks tie in with achieving that goal. But it's usually not clearly disseminated. And because of that, staff members feel that their jobs lack impact, lack meaning, and can often feel a little bit aimless and not sure where to go.

Involve your team in as much strategic and operational planning as you can. And in your one to one's, talk about how their tasks directly link to the operational plan so they can see it and tie in with it. This would also show-tie in with how they impact each other.

Not providing enough time to work with your staff to unblock problems

Remember, a manager's job is to provide the best environment for your team members to succeed. Now that means creating space in your diary, to have one on ones, and then time afterwards to work through the actions from that one on one.

It's by fostering this space that your employees can then be more efficient with their work. Think of it as sharpening the saw instead of just cutting with a dull blade.

Not preparing for one-on-one's well enough

Just waiting till the last minute, do a quick readthrough of what they did in the last session and then go "Lets go from there" doesn't cut it.

You have to invest time in your staff, knowing where they're coming from, knowing where they are going to, and what steps are needed to be taken. As a rule of thumb, however long you've got for your one to one meeting, half of that time should be spent in preparation beforehand.

Micromanaging your employees.

There's a lot to unpack with this one. Coming from the role itself, you probably have good expertise in it. In that case, when you find that your employees aren't doing the tasks as you would do it, you may feel the need to step in and walk them through it. Short answer? That is pretty inefficient.

Your role is creating the best environment for your staff to do the job now. Think of it like this. You hired experts to do the job for you, and with the right environment they find their own way of doing things that could improve the process as well.

Read more from the original Gallup post here:

Why Great Managers Are So Rare
One of the most important decisions companies make is whom they name manager. Yet Gallup research suggests they usually get it wrong -- costing businesses billions of dollars annually.