Over the last few decades, organizations have slowly transitioned from promoting employees based solely on technical ability to recognizing the critical importance of soft skills. No longer does the best accounting become the finance director; now it goes to a solid performer who can also manage stakeholders, develop employees, and communicate in an engaging manner. At the same time that this transition has occurred, companies have significantly increased investment in leadership development, recognizing that not only do new managers need help to thrive, but that the quality of leaders directly impacts the performance of the organization.
Companies have embraced soft skills and the value of leadership and have invested significantly to support this culture change. Things must be going swimmingly in organizations, right?
Not quite. According to recent Gallup surveys, only 38% of workers say their manager helps them set their priorities, and fewer than one in five workers under the age of 37 (which includes the prime years when new workers need development the most) say they receive any routine feedback from their boss. Were you expecting more from your managers? Maybe you shouldn’t. According to Gallup, only 35% of them are engaged themselves.
I had the pleasure of assisting Dean Stamoulis with this article, which appeared in the American Management Association Quarterly.