Thoughts from the Market Research Executive Board on manager behaviors that block/enable employee agility…
For many years I looked to Bill Lumbergh as my “what not to say” as a manager tutor. (“I’m gonna need you to…”)
But we now have an updated list of phrases that should never pass a manger’s lips thanks to workplace expert Liz Ryan. She recently blogged the 10 things only bad managers say. Among the most groan-inducing:
- “I don’t pay you to think.”
- “Who gave you permission to do that?”
- “In these times, you’re lucky to have a job at all.”
Don’t Let Managers Crush Employee Agility
What’s the common denominator behind these infuriating catchphrases? Clearly, it’s an overbearing approach to management, which is guaranteed to stifle any agility, innovation or creativity. Years back, this might have been deemed a minor irritant – a trivial complaint that employees’ whimsical ideas weren’t being taken seriously. But we’ve got the data to prove that this management style costs businesses money:
- Employee agility – the very quality that those hideous phrases above prohibit – is the leading driver of employee performance. It matters 3 times more than expending additional effort, and infinitely more than simply ‘following orders’, or being responsive.
- Infuriatingly, comments like “I don’t pay you to think” mean that employees leave their natural agility at home – they are nearly half as agile in the workplace than in their personal lives.
Improve Your Managers’ Communication Style
So, what do good managers do differently, and what can we as communicators do to help them see the need to change? CEC members, check these resources:
- GSK teaches its managers to self-identify the behaviors that prohibit agility, and to empower their employees to identify solutions to business problems
- L’Oréal has translated the soft behaviors that enable employee agility into tangible and concrete action steps for its managers
- Saudi Aramco enables leaders and managers to connect employees with the ‘big picture’ to enable them to find solutions to business challenges
Check more of CEC’s work around enabling employee agility here!