Manager vs Leader – a balancing act for effective organisational performance

In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of contemporary business, the imperative for balancing manager vs leader roles to enhance their effectiveness has grown considerably.

Gartner research has identified this as the foremost strategic priority for HR in 2023.

The strategic approach for Managers vs Leaders

There is a growing belief that in addition to being more effective, managers and leaders also need to model and epitomise a more humane approach, characterised by:

  • heightened empathy,
  • effective communication, and
  • a dedicated focus on fostering robust relationships with their employees.

The significance of this belief stems from the fact that embracing these aspects greatly facilitates cultivating a positive and productive workplace culture.  When there’s a balance between acting in a manager vs a leader role and connecting with their employees personally, it fosters a sense of mutual respect and trust. This, in turn, can lead to:

  • better morale
  • increased employee engagement
  • higher levels of job satisfaction

Most agree that when employees feel like their manager or leader genuinely cares about them and their success, they are more likely to be inspired to exert increased effort and achieve peak performance. Building strong relationships with employees through balancing managerial and leadership roles can also provide more targeted and personalised support to help employees overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

The problem, according to Gartner, is that even though:

“HR leaders try to build commitment, courage and confidence in leaders to help them answer the call, ‘human’ leaders remain few and far between. Critical obstacles to success include their own (very human) emotions of doubt, fear and uncertainty”.

What is needed?

Many successful managers are technically outstanding, but sadly, they lack behind when it comes to “softer” skills. They need all the help they can get. For example, help can include practical tools that facilitate the appropriate discussion and development initiatives.

With the recruitment market forecast to remain tight, the role of managers in retaining top talent becomes indispensable. It’s accepted that employees are more likely to stay with a company where they feel valued, respected, and supported. So, by prioritising empathy, communication, and relationship-building, managers can balance their roles,  create a more attractive workplace for top performers and foster a stronger sense of loyalty.

To explore our tailored and user-friendly tools designed for each team member, contact us.

Remote Working – What are seen effects of further shifts in this competitive market?

After two years of disruption further shifts in remote working and our lives have emerged. There’s been:

  • the rise of individualism and independence brought out new confidence to show up as themselves at work (Fjord Trends 2022)
  • hybrid employment arrangements placing more emphasis on staff being able to work remotely and maintain productivity and service delivery
  • continued challenges to organisations due to Omicron leading to staff shortages resulting in increased costs of hiring more or temporary staff
  • increased pressures on both existing and new staff in the present climate.

Moving forward employers need to relook at balancing the flexibility they offer to individuals with the needs of the team and the greater good of the organisation. (Fjord Trends 2022)

Obtaining the right information for remote hires

How can you increase your success rate and hire the right people the first time for roles in the current labour market? And what about remote working? How can you more easily identify those who will thrive and be productive in a work from home environment?

The traditional recruitment process leaves a lot up to chance. You’ll sift through a stack of resumes and cover letters trying to narrow down the people with the right experience and qualifications and get a sense of other relevant aspects.

You’ll then perform a round of interviews to gauge which candidate sounds and acts right for the role.

You might ask yourself:

  • “Does this person have the right skills to perform the job?..
  • the right credentials?..
  • enough experience?..
  • will they fit in with the workplace culture?..
  • can they bring anything to the table to benefit the business?”

While some of these questions can easily be answered with a CV and interview, others are trickier.

And let’s face it most employees, when asked if they would like to work from home, will answer ‘yes’. This is simply because they are only looking at the positive aspects of doing so.

But this is the homeworking equivalent of asking someone ‘How are you?’. And accepting the answer ‘Fine.’ as confirmation that all is well.

Some key questions are difficult to answer through the traditional hiring process such as:

  • “Will this person be engaged in their work and great in this role?”
  • “Will this person be capable and productive in this remote working role?”

Engagement is critical

Great managers and business owners know that higher employee engagement levels in the workplace translate to higher productivity and better company performance. So especially in this current environment, how can hiring managers improve the likelihood of selecting highly engaged remote working top performers?

It all starts with thinking about how potential employees will “fit”, rather than experience and qualifications. Or even age and gender. Studies have shown that ‘fit’ is what counts if you want a high performer.

‘Fit’ refers to how well a person is suited to their job role and the surrounding workplace culture. Whether or not a person ‘fits’ in a particular position depends on a few factors, for example:

  • their attitude,
  • personality, and
  • enthusiasm for the work at hand.

To find out which candidate is the right fit for the job and culture, hiring managers must check their biases at the door and use objective information to make their decision. Making this type of decision can be trickier than it sounds, but it is possible.

How does it work?

Hire someone who is objectively the right fit

Choosing the right person for a role can influence how long they stay in the job and how engaged they are with their role working remotely or onsite.

According to Willis Towers Watson, employee engagement is defined as “employees’ willingness and ability to contribute to company success”.

According to studies they conducted, businesses can expect a 13.7% rise in net income with engaged employees; I am sure most CEO’s would take this net income increase as a Christmas present!

Instead of solely relying on opinions or a hunch, validated benchmarkable assessments provide you with tools using objective data to determine whether your candidate is right for the role. Recent shifts have meant employee preferences don’t necessarily match what’s best for a business.

Use your top performers as a benchmark for new talent

When a top performer walks out the door, it often feels like you’re back at square one; scrambling to build your team from the ground up again. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Companies, teams and hiring managers can make the process of replacing top performers easier while improving their hiring process each time.

Not all candidates are suited to homeworking published an annual global survey on homeworking and discovered in 2020 (like in previous years) that the top 3 difficulties people experience with homeworking, worldwide, are not necessarily related to the pandemic and lockdown:

  • collaboration and communication
  • loneliness, and
  • not being able to unplug.

Remote working

This survey suggests that many individuals will either need help to overcome these problems or even that remote working is not a viable option for some people.

To learn more about the Great People Inside assessments specifically designed for work from home employees and teams contact us.