According to a recent Gallup survey, “U.S. employees with female bosses are more engaged than employees with male bosses.” Do these results mean females make better people managers than males? Possibly. Here’s why and what you can do to improve your management skills no matter what your gender…
Gallup conducted thousands of interviews in all types of organizations, at all levels, and in almost all industries. The results showed that employees felt female managers were more likely to encourage employee development than their male counterparts. As Gallup notes, “This suggests female managers likely surpass their male counterparts in cultivating potential in others and helping to define a bright future for their employees.”
What emerged from the Gallup research were 12 elements of management style that tend to predict the engagement level of employees as well as the level of employee and workgroup performance. Employees of female managers outscored employees of male managers on 11 of the 12 items. Because of this, the Gallup article suggests that women are better managers than men and recommend leaders “take into account the engagement power of female bosses” when considering whom to promote into people management positions.
The Gallup results correlate to the female and male manager behaviors I witnessed as an executive vice president of a Fortune 500 company and what I’ve seen in the last decade as a certified executive coach and management trainer. However, my preference is to avoid looking at management behavior as a gender competition with a “male versus female” attitude. Experience has shown me that anyone can become an outstanding people manager – regardless of gender. The key is to look at the behavior and traits of great managers of both genders, and then learn to incorporate those into your management style.
Most people aren’t born as great people managers; it’s something they learn over time and through experience. Of Gallup’s “12 Elements of Great Managing” the top six statements are the behaviors I see most often in outstanding people managers. These are the six actions you should develop in your own management style, if you want to become a good people manager (and my explanation of each statement):
1. “I know what is expected of me at work.” Good people managers create a vision and a strategic plan for their department. After sharing this information, they work with each employee to mutually define the employee’s goals and objectives and they clearly explain the elements on which each employee’s performance will be evaluated.
2. “I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.” Good people managers are always looking out for their employees to ensure they have what is needed to be productive.
3. “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.” Good people managers find challenging tasks and projects that help employees develop and that take advantage of the unique skills of each person.
4. “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.” Good people managers provide on-going feedback (good and bad) and recognition for excellent work; they understand that encouraging high performance is a year-round activity, not an annual event.
5. “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.” The best people managers know that the company’s most important assets go home each night; and, they treat all employees with respect and compassion.
6. “There is someone at work who encourages my development.” Good people managers help each employee create a career development plan and then support each employee’s efforts to achieve career goals.
By Lisa Quast