How to Improve the Managers' Experience at Your Company

BY Kathy Crosett
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In some organizations, leaders focus so intently on the employee experience that they overlook another important element of company culture: the manager experience. If your managers aren’t feeling engaged and productive, it will be hard for them to effectively lead their teams. Gallup recently took a look at this issue. The company published its finding in its Top Challenges & Perks of Managers report.

Manager Challenges

Entry level employees envy managers. They figure managers are making big bucks and can slip out for an afternoon of kiteboarding and call that activity business development. As a company leader, you know the truth. Yes, your sales manager might go kiteboarding for the afternoon. What the other employees don’t realize is the manager then works for five hours at night to catch up on the tasks they didn’t get done while they were relationship building. 

In general, Gallup findings show the average work week by employee type breaks out as follows:

  • Managers 49 hours
  • Individual contributors 45 hours

Those extra work hours in a manager’s day usually involve focusing on how to help team members. Managing employee also means taking care of emergencies and problems that pop up during the workday. Managers resolve employee squabbles, deal with upset customers, and try to figure out why their department is over budget this quarter. They have little time to devote to the tasks they excelled at and enjoyed before they took on a management role. 

The constant work interruptions and the need to deal with emotionally charged situations takes its toll. About 37% of managers experience stress at work every day. The comparable number for individual contributors is 31%.

Improving the Management Experience

Managers are more likely than other employees to interact every day with co-​workers, team members and bosses. The collaborative nature of today’s work process in most organizations means 28% of managers call themselves highly matrixed. Managers appreciate being ‘in the know’ and having the ability to impact the bottom line because of this collaboration. However, only 24% say they get help from co-workers.

Managers could get more out of the collaborative work environment if leaders helped them build a path to understanding. As a leader, you should encourage managers to have one-​on-​one lunches with each other. Shadowing each other during the workday can be another way to develop understanding. Managers who experience firsthand what their counterparts are up against usually become more supportive. They can help reduce each other’s stress and feelings of isolation.

You should also work with new managers to help them develop their team members' skills. Once your managers believe that their success “comes from other people’s success,” they will strive to enhance company culture and the work experience for their team members.