Where you work, what percentage of managers are fully engaged? Managers everywhere in every kind of industry and organization deplore the figures on employee engagement: Gallup’s study of employee engagement finds that just 30% of U.S. workers are engaged. Yet many organizations have almost as many managers not fully engaged.

When one-third of the workforce just isn’t interested in doing good work, it’s frustrating as well as costly for the managers and leaders in charge.

But here’s what I find really deplorable: Gallup surveys also show similar statistics on manager engagement! The percentage of engaged managers is only somewhat higher than the percentage of engaged employees. Gallup research has found that 35% of managers are engaged, 51% are not engaged and 14% are actively disengaged.

Through their impact, Gallup estimates that managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually. Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units, demonstrating a clear link between poor managing and a nation of “checked out” employees.

One in two employees have left their job to get away from their manager at some point in their career. Managers’ engagement has a direct impact on employees’ engagement. Employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers.

Gallup’s extensive research and analysis, reported in State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, provides an in-depth look at what distinguishes great managers from the rest. Here are some of the findings:

Companies that hire managers based on talent realize a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, a 30% increase in employee engagement scores, a 17% increase in customer engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover.

Managers with high talent are more likely to be engaged than their peers. More than half (54%) of managers with high talent are engaged, compared with 39% of managers with functioning talent and 27% of managers with limited talent.

Managers with high talent also place more emphasis on employees’ strengths than their weaknesses. Gallup has found that a strengths-based approach is associated with greater levels of employee engagement and well-being and team productivity and profitability.

I don’t understand how any manager in charge of others can be blasé or disengaged, but maybe that’s just me, based on my own experiences as a manager. When you care about results, performance and what ever it is that motivates you – you have so much opportunity to make a difference in employees’ lives and careers. How can you not be engaged?

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