Why Are Connector Managers Best For Employees?

The best managers are those that not only work to achieve success for their organizations but also ensure that the people that work under them are properly managed and taken care of. The modern world demands managers to continue honing their skills and application. As long as the best people are willing to work under leaders, they are still at the top of their game. 

The managers that work towards the development and growth of their employees stay long in the game. They are well-versed with the changing leadership trends and responsibilities. And they understand how important it is for employees as well to keep working on their skills. If a leader helps them do that, they will always stay loyal to them. Helping employees upgrade their skills is a great way for leaders to build trust with employees. And when employees trust their managers, they don’t have any problems in following the path shown to them by their managers. 

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Research conducted by Gartner, directed at understanding how great managers continue to build great talent even with little time on their hands, revealed quite interesting things. Around 5,000 managers, belonging to different functions, participated in the research. The ultimate objective of the research was to find out whether or not the employees that worked under these managers have been able to achieve success. It was found that lots of organizations are asking their managers to provide regular feedback to employees regarding their work. In most of these cases, the feedback it seems, isn’t serving the purpose that it is supposed to. In other cases, it does more harm to employee productivity than good.

The leaders who participated in the research were also asked to share their opinion on how ready and comfortable they are to help their organizations overcome future challenges. About half of the leaders answered in the affirmative, saying that they are not only ready but have all the means to lead their respective organizations into the future. This says a lot about how confident the modern leaders are. Employees were also asked a few questions to understand their perspective in all of this. One of the most important questions put up before employees was about their opinion on the skills that they need to be successful in their respective roles and whether or not they have those. More than one-third of the employees that were asked this question felt that they still need to work hard to get better at the skills that are critical for their work. 

So what exactly are the reasons behind this? There are three big factors that are behind these stats. The first of the three factors is the shift that has taken place in the organizational structure. This could be due to mergers and acquisitions, leadership changes, reorganization, and others. These changes have become commonplace in the modern world. The second factor takes into account how work has become more interdependent in the modern times. It was found that during the times of the great recession, many organizations were doing away with middle managers, in order to save costs. However, even after the growth in the economy since, not a lot of those organizations have yet got those middle managers on-board.

What this has done is leave managers with complete control of their teams. They now have more people under them that they need to manage. They also have more areas to look into. And of course, they have more control than ever. Having said that, the job hasn’t got any easier. Instead, it’s tough being a manager these days.

The last factor is the predictability of work or lack of it for that matter. Almost every business has gone digital now. And that has resulted in employees and managers having to update their skill set. Organizational objectives aren’t the same as they used to be a decade or so ago. Also, there are many jobs where automation has taken over manual resources. With all of this happening around, managers have to always be ready with a Plan B. They are not only required to change their plans but also their work processes more often. The business world now has four different types of managers – the teacher, the cheerleader, the always on manager, and the connector manager. 

The world right now needs more connector managers. Most companies however are more intent on always having managers as they are always present for their employees. But, sometimes too much involvement in employees’ lives can have a reverse effect on their productivity. Some employees don’t want their managers to have the solution to all their problems. They don’t want their managers to micromanage them. 

What they need is connector managers, who don’t hesitate from bringing other people, who may have more experience and expertise, into the mix for the development of their employees. This also helps employees in interacting with other managers and employees, which is always a very good thing for their overall development. What it also does is give employees the opportunity to learn from the best of people. Not all people are good at everything. Acknowledging this fact is very important. This is what connector managers do. 

Connector managers coach and share feedback related to areas that they have expertise in. For other areas, they direct their employees to other people with expertise in those areas. Connector managers are believed to be the best for their employees as they don’t, at any time, stop their development. This is what makes them the best for their employees. The only thing they want is for their employees to learn and gain experience. It doesn’t matter if that knowledge comes from them or someone else. 

Reference: Why connector managers build better talent Podcast | Harvard Business Review | November 12, 2019

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