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Book:  It's The Manager

Author:  Jim Clifton & Jim Harter

Purchase:  PrinteBookAudiobook

Citation:  Clifton, J. & Harter, J. (2019). It's the manager : Gallup finds the quality of managers and team leaders is the single biggest factor in your organization's long-term success. New York, NY: Gallup Press.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. To inspire inspirational performance, managers have to lead with - and continually revisit - meaningful feedback based on what each person naturally does best. This is the starting point to building trust, which increases the likelihood that the critical feedback will result in growth and development. (pg. 54)

  2. Without effective ongoing conversations between managers and employees, the success of any goals and performance metrics is left to chance. In most companies, objectives change and change often creates anxiety and confusion. But with ongoing coaching, employees are more likely to have clear expectations that are aligned with the overall business, so they can better handle change with confidence and clarity. (pg. 80)

  3. When it comes to worker's engagement and wellbeing, flextime is the perk or benefit they value most. Yet only 44% of employees say their organization offers some form of flextime. Probably the biggest reason flextime is so popular is that people deeply crave freedom. People want to be in control of their own lives. Having a flexible environment starts with your leaders and how they respond to employees who use the flexible options your organization provides.  While for many jobs, technological advances make it easier for employees to work from wherever they need to, not every job lends itself to flexibility in where and when employees work. But every organization should examine its policies, benefits, and performance management systems and be open to adjusting them to allow for more flexibility while maintaining high productivity. (pg. 144)


Other Key Ideas:

Most millennials (people born between 1980 and 1996) and Generation Z (those born in 1997 or later) are coming to work with great enthusiasm. But the old management practices - forms, gaps, low individualization and annual reviews - grind the life out of them. Both groups don't want annual reviews - they want ongoing conversations. How these generations communicate - texting, tweeting - is immediate and continuous. Millennials and Generation Z are accustomed to constant communication and feedback, and this dramatically affects the workplace. (pg. 17)

The best applicants join an organization because of its reputation. And social media greatly heightens awareness of a company's culture - good or bad. (pg. 32)

There are five general innate traits, or tendencies, that predict performance across job types: Motivation (drive for achievement), Workstyle (organizing work for efficient completion), Initiation (taking action and inspiring others to succeed), Collaboration (building quality partnerships), and Thought Process (solving problems through assimilation of new information). (pg. 45)

Your onboarding employee experience must align with your real culture. After six months in a role, the honeymoon starts to fade, and your new idealistic employee has probably met a few veterans who are quick to share "how things really work around here." If the values you preach on Day One do not match the true values that your structure, benefits, and recognition, and leadership exhibit, your new employees will suffer long-term shock as they realize that what they thought they signed up for is something quite different. (pg. 53)

As a rule, managers should give their employees meaningful feedback at least once a week. (pg. 79)

A competitor needs to pay an employee over 20% more to get them to switch jobs if that employee is engaged. If an employee is disengaged, they will leave for almost any increase in salary. Research shows that a high percentage of employees believe they are paid below average of others with similar jobs. Be clear with employees about how their pay compares with what they would get somewhere else. If you don't lead this conversation, employees will fill the space with their own, likely negative, narrative. Finally, implement support systems that give workers financial planning and investment advice. This means having financial experts on hand to help employees do what's in their own best interest. (pg. 87)

Tolerance of mediocrity is the enemy of the best organizations. High development cultures define high team performance based on a combination of metrics such as productivity, retention rates, customer service, and employee engagement. It is clear to managers than their job is to engage their teams . The best companies have consequences for ongoing patterns of team disengagement - most important, changing managers. (pg. 116)

Employees can become resentful when they have a coworker who is not contributing or being held accountable for subpar performance. Great managers do not sit idly and let a team erode. The establish performance and accountability standards and ensure that all team members are held responsible for them. (pg. 296)

Managers should not try to manufacture friendships or make everyone be friends. Rather, they should create situations where people can get to know each other. The best managers look for opportunities to get their team together for events, encourage people to share stories about themselves, and plan for time to socialize at work. (pg. 297)

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