Book Notes: It’s The Manager

It’s the Manager by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager

The workforce is changing and businesses need to evolve to get the most out of their people.

My PaycheckMy Purpose
My SatisfactionMy Development
My BossMy Coach
My Annual ReviewMy Ongoing Conversations
My WeaknessesMy Strengths
My JobMy Life

Why is change so hard? Humans are hard wired to distrust outsiders. This distrust can result in teams working against each other, and as such against the best interests of the company.

Leader need to bringing multiple teams together. It is easy for a leader to blame someone else – another team or manager, how connected managers feel will impact their safety and cooperation with other leaders.

Making great decisions. Know your limits, don’t have the ego to think you know it all realise you don’t and pull in other expertise to cover areas you don’t know. Apply critical thinking, identify risks and blind spots to prevent confirmation bias and groupthink. Use analytics-driven evidence, analytics when done right overrule hierarchy, politics and bias.

Culture – what is your mission, purpose and brand? Do these align with policies, programs and communications? Build culture through coaching by line managers.

Hiring stars – Hiring managers must reduce bias to choose the best people for the role.

  • Glare factors. Disproportionate weight to visual characteristics e.g. a candidates look
  • Experience fallacy. Assume everyone the same company or university will be successful
  • Confirmation bias. Only hearing comments that confirm beliefs about a candidate
  • Overconfidence bias. Hiring managers having special ability to select applicants
  • Similarity bias. Choosing people similar to yourself
  • Stereotype bias. Unconscious stereotypes of gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity and age
  • Availability bias. Relying on memory of an interview rather than a complete perspective
  • Sunk cost fallacy. Continuing with a candidate because so much time already invested
  • Escalation of pressure. Pressured to a candidate because its taken a long time to fill a role

How to hire

  • Prior experiences & achievements. What have they already done which aligns with the role
  • Innate tendencies. Evaluate on
    • Drive for achievement (motivation)
    • Getting work done (workstyle)
    • Taking action and inspiring others to succeed (initiation)
    • Building quality partnerships (collaboration)
    • Solving problems with assimilating new information (thought process)
  • Multiple interviews. Input from multiple interviews will reduce the potential bias.
  • On-the-job observation. Internship or scenarios as close to real life to see how they act.

Seven expectations that are necessary for success in any role:

  • Build relationships. Build trust, share ideas and accomplish work
  • Develop people. Grow others through strengths, expectations and coaching
  • Lead change. Embrace change, set goals that align with a stated vision
  • Inspire others. Positivity, vision, confidence, challenges and recognition
  • Think critically. Gather and evaluate information that leads to smart decisions
  • Communicate clearly. Share information regularly and concisely
  • Create accountability. Hold yourself and others responsible for performance

When people leave – make sure they feel heard, they feel proud of what they did and are brand ambassadors

Coaching conversations

  • Role and Relationship Orientation. Get to know each individual and their strengths and align to the organization’s overall objectives. Define success and co-worker expectations.
  • Quick Connect. Ongoing conversations for employees to feel heard and to raise issues for awareness and resolution.
  • Check-In. Regular review of successes, barriers and priorities.
  • Developmental Coaching. Most effective when the manager knows the employee well. To give the employee direction, support and advice when they are exploring career, aspirational or developmental opportunities.
  • Progress Reviews. Review purpose, goals, metrics, development, strategy, teams and wellbeing

Pay – Criteria should be transparent and not political lobbying. Don’t use forced rankings. People want autonomy/performance related pay but great care needs to be taken. Financial wellbeing is an organisational responsibility.

Performance rating bias

  • Personal or idiosyncratic bias. Higher rating for people who would do things the same way as the manager
  • Halo effect. When doing things the manager views as important well can result in the manger rating other aspects more favourably
  • Spill over effect. Once managers has made a choice for an employee they need a compelling reason to modify their prior judgment in subsequent reviews.
  • The middle default. Struggle to distinguish performance among workers
  • Leniency and strictness biases. Some have a bias toward the extremes.
    • Leniency bias giving positive ratings even though employees have notable room for improvement.
    • Strictness bias when a manager is overly critical

Performance rating solution

  • Individual achievement – performance metrics, subjective manager observation and individual goals
  • Collaboration
  • Customer value

Team’s engagement

  • Connectedness to the rest of the organisation
  • Composition of team strengths
  • Experience working together
  • Team size

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