What makes great managers?

Posted on under News

An interesting article in the latest Gallup Management Journal raises a number of fascinating issues.

The researchers behind the article raise three points:

  • Talent is the major predictor of a manager’s performance
  • Managers have the greatest impact on employee performance
  • Talent should be at the core of any human capital strategy

They say “Companies that hire managers based on talent realize a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, a 30% increase in employee engagement scores, a 17% increase in customer engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover.”

The quote is interesting because of the use, here and throughout the piece, of the word “talent.” From the context of the piece it is obvious that what they are talking about is a manager’s possibly genetic propensity to be able to form committed, mutually supportive relationships with his or her reports.

The more we understand about talent the more we realize that genetics and environment are involved in a very delicate and complex dance. What a number of studies have shown is that learning and practice do not create talent—only show how to direct an already existing propensity.

If talent is like other genetic factors—such as intelligence, or athletic ability, or creativity—what we can assume is that about 40-60% of it is hard-wired in and the rest is a combination of environmental factors (i.e. childhood experiences) and genes.

If we knew which genes, or clusters of genes, were responsible for talent, the job of hiring good managers would be made a lot easier—a simple saliva swab could tell you. However, recruiters can only look for a pattern of successful relationships and managerial experience, which will give a clue to the genetics at work. The trick is to look for these patterns in all spheres of life, not just the workplace

Link to the article HERE

By Dr Bob Murray