When it comes to studying employee engagement, Gallup is a great thought leader. They produce a lot of great research on employee engagement and they summarize the data quite well. The charts below are recreated using the results found in this article.
They have found that managers have a vital role in driving engagement. This is a no-brainer. But what type of management style results in employee engagement? There are many managerial workstyles and in this research, they examined differences among managers that focused on the strengths of the employee vs. the managers that focused on the weaknesses of the employee vs. ignored the employee.
Here is the breakdown of those categories. Note that the categories don’t add to a 100%. It wasn’t specified why so many didn’t answer the question, but it’s safe to say that those people probably don’t have a manager that focuses on their strengths.
The interesting results here are that 25% of managers were categorized as ignoring employees. Less than half of managers highlight employees strengths. What would you want your manager to focus on?
Just to demonstrate a point here, let’s take this categorization of manager habits (Strengths, Weaknesses, Ignored) to the extreme. If a manager described as having a strengths focus, genuinely praises you and your team mates for their strengths frequently, even daily, and never mentions anyone’s weaknesses, what would that do to the morale of the team? Now let’s take the another extreme; a manager whose door is closed, always traveling, and has no time for the team. How would that change the team environment?
In other words, how likely are you to be engaged, or actively disengaged when you have a manager that focus on the your strengths? How does that change when your manager focuses on your weaknesses or ignores you altogether? Well here are some very interesting results.
Here is what the real data show for each of these categories. The blue bars represent those employees that are engaged. Meanwhile the red bars are those employees that are actively disengaged.
These results show that if your manager focuses on your strengths, you are 30 times more likely to be engaged. Or if you are a manager and you focus on your team’s strengths, active disengagement is 40 times less likely if you were largely unavailable. The results are unavoidable. Be available and focus on strengths if you want a team to be actively engaged.
After seeing these results it should be obvious that if you are a manager, you would want to find ways to talk about your employees strengths. It demonstrates to employees that their strengths are important to achieving goals. It demonstrates that their capabilities are needed, and wanted. It helps them understand the meaning and purpose of them being there. And having meaning and purpose in your job is the best route to being happy in your job.