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If Your Managers Aren’t Engaged, Your Employees Won’t Be Either

James Harter


Many CEOs and CHROs list “culture change” as a top priority. They know their organizations need to become more agile and adaptable to rapid transformations and they want to be able to make good decisions and execute them quickly. Furthermore, they especially want to attract and retain the biggest stars. Building and maintaining a good corporate culture is key to all these aspirations. Yet many CEOs and CHROs ignore the most important factor in building the culture they want: managers.

Too often, the very managers upon whom organizations depend to create better cultures are themselves unhappy and unmotivated at work. Management really isn’t a great experience for most people; managers report more stress and burnout, worse work-life balance, and worse physical well-being than the individual contributors on the teams they lead. Approximately two-thirds of managers are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work and workplace. Less than 30% of managers strongly agree that someone at work encourages their development. According to the people receiving manager development training, the programs in place don’t work.

Shifting how your company trains and supports managers, and repositioning them as coaches, is essential for helping managers to change culture. The transition from boss to coach means managers are expected to do a lot more than give orders and delegate assignments—a primary role is to develop stars through collaborative goal setting, future-oriented coaching, and achievement-oriented accountability. Moving your managers from boss to coach not only increases employee engagement and improves performance, but it’s also essential to changing your culture to align with the changing workforce – a workforce that no longer wants, nor responds to, the traditional “command and control,” top-down boss.

    Company Culture

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