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It's the Manager: Moving From Boss to Coach

This fascinating book reveals groundbreaking insights into the 52 discoveries from Gallup’s study of the future of work. Based on new research, it provides insights into key skills, and the importance of managers.

As the fourth industrial revolution drives rapid change the demands on managers are also changing. Remote workforces, diversity, inclusion, increased automation, gig-workers, and remote working and requiring new working practices. Gallup represents that managers must be developing new skills to handle this new world of work.

As the nature of work, and the demographics or workers, have changed dramatically in recent years, management practices have been stuck in the past. Millennials, and Generation Z make up more and more of workforces and they don’t want to work for command-and-control bosses. Traditionals (the generation before the Boomers) may be the most engaged of all generations, yet they are slowly disappearing from businesses. Younger generations expect something different, both as consumers and employees. Organizations need to keep pace with these changes and ahead of competitors to remain relevant. Managers are the most influential and powerful 'lever' an organization has for answering this need. More than any other role, managers can increase an employee's engagement, and with it, productivity. Yet, just like the needs and expectations of today's workforce, the role of managers is also changing.

Unlike usual management books, It's The Manager, is written to be helpful for CEOs, CHROs, and managers. Doing so could well improve an organization's performance and profitability. Chapters are short and punchy. Ideas are deftly explained and presented in actionable ways. Authors Jim Clifton and Jim Harter begin by identifying declining economic dynamism and productivity as the # 1 problems for the world's organizations. Acquiring other businesses has become the most common strategy of organizational growth for all Fortune 1000 companies. Quite obviously, this is an unsustainable option. Maximizing human potential must replace this method of growth and increase profitability if businesses are going to thrive. Replacing the old 'boss' mentality with a new and improved coaching method for management is part of this. This new perspective has the potential to catapult businesses into a future that is both profitable and sustainable. When team inspiration grows, clients, revenue, and quality earnings grow with it. Managers are the key to unlocking an organization's potential, now and into the far future.

With five sections – Strategy, Culture, Employment Brand, Boss to Coach, and The Future of Work – the authors lead us through how managers can influence teams and ultimately a business' viability at each of these junctures. This structure allows readers to dive into these pages at the point most relevant to their organization. The clear chapter titles make it simple to find scientifically-backed advice on any number of organizational questions leaders or managers may have. Written to be returned to time and again, this business and management book is based on more than 30 years of data, collected across 160 countries through interviews with employees and managers working in a wide range of industries.

A core theme within the text is that people today aspire to have a good job more than almost anything else. Individuals engage with work that supports their lifestyle, development, idea of who they are, and whom they want to be. More than any other single thing a company can do to provide this ideal is to develop great managers because great managers are the facilitators of good jobs.

When it comes to strategy, companies need to provide their workers with more than just a task and paycheck at the end of the month. Employees now want purpose with their paychecks, development with satisfaction, ongoing conversations with their managers, and managers who are more like coaches than bosses. Organizations need to develop their teams' strengths rather than focusing on eliminating weaknesses. Job seekers and employees are, above all else, looking for work that supports their life and growth as well as an income.

To aid this aspiration, managers at all levels need well-defined, articulated missions, and purposes that they can convey to their teams with passion and enthusiasm. They need to be able to help everyone on their team relate to the work they do each day and understand how it is an integral part of creating a bigger picture and meeting a grander purpose. Managers need to feel inspired and valuable to do this; it is up to leaders to develop them. When managers feel this and work together with other managers, organizations can change and evolve with the demands of their market.

The authors tell us culture begins with purpose, determines your brand, and has a direct, measurable impact on performance. A definite purpose leads to better employee retention. ALL organizations have a culture – yet only a small number have intentionally cultivated theirs. Lack of attention to developing the organization's culture is detrimental to the employees, managers, and leaders' motivation and thereby to the entire business. To understand a company's culture, leaders should be asking themselves some key questions:

  1. How well do our purpose, brand, and culture align?

  2. How clear is our purpose to employees?

  3. Are our employees committed to our culture?

Once a leader has answered these questions, they can identify their culture and nurture it. Helpfully, the authors have supplied the tools to do just that. Healthy organizational cultures attract world-class talent. They can maximize the organic growth delivered from customer-employee interactions and are agile when responding to market needs. Simply put, organizations need strong cultures to remain competitive.

In today's hyper-connected world, your company's employment brand is more important than ever. Millennials seek jobs that fit their lifestyle, bring them opportunities to learn, advance, and develop professionally. The quality of a business' managers and interesting, engaging work is more important to them than pay. What's more, these job seekers can research, review, and gain insights into most organizations before they even apply.

Hiring experiences are shared far and wide – if they're negative, expect them to be shared far and wide.

Valid assessment systems, psychometric testing, and enriching the talent pool are all strategies this book identifies for enhancing your employment brand and increasing the success of hires. As an added benefit the book comes with a code to take the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment for free!

Businesses can augment college experiences with meaningful internships, providing mentors, or working with institutions to support semester-long projects. That will enable them to develop future employees for their organization while simultaneously filtering the talent that suits their needs. Students receive an enriched learning experience, and your company is future-proofing its hiring. From hiring to onboarding, through to exiting and succession planning, a company's employment brand and strategies can be adjusted and tweaked to protect the future while also improving the present. Managers are integral to each step of this process – encouraging teams, providing mentoring to students, listening to employees at exit interviews, and managing their path of development and engagement.

Tweaking the manager's role and adjusting the perspective from boss to coach is a significant key to influencing the retention and engagement of all individuals in their team.