Many major studies have been conducted about employee engagement. A Gallup survey of more than 350,000 people found that only 30% of US employees are “engaged” at work. A similar study by Towers Watson of 32,000 people found that only 35% of employees are “highly engaged.” And a study out of Dale Carnegie determined that only 29% of employees are “fully engaged.”
What causes these dismal numbers? Numerous factors are certainly at play, including employees taking jobs that they have no passion for and poor workplace culture. But one of the biggest culprits of low employee engagement is the manager. In fact, another Gallup poll found that 50% of employees who quit their jobs cite their manager as the primary reason for leaving.
This is a huge problem. Ineffective and downright lousy management is rampant, and it’s costing companies billions of dollars every year. Altogether, Gallup estimates that low employee engagement costs the US economy $450 billion annually.
The trouble with management issues is that most managers have no idea that they are falling short of their employee’s expectations. Some may feel like they need to be hard on their employees to get the most out of them, not realizing that their harsh leadership is actually demoralizing employees and hindering engagement. Others may feel that their hands-off approach is liberating for their employees, not realizing that their employees are actually paralyzed by a lack of clear direction.
The first step to addressing problems like these is proper assessment. Professional assessments for leadership development can help managers at every leader identify their strengths as well as potential problem areas. Assessments are the first step to change. You need to be able to name a problem before you can address it.
Some of the most common leadership shortcomings that assessments identify are communication issues. Effective leadership requires effective communication, and many leaders either fail to make themselves accessible to and approachable for their employees, fail to provide clear direction, or fail to trust their employees with tasks that they’ve assigned them. Issues like these and many others can be identified with proper assessment, empowering managers to take action to improve their style, become stronger leaders, and improve their career prospects while simultaneously improving the working lives of their employees.