• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

The ‘line manager effect’ and employee engagement

Line manager, “oga”, supervisor, manager, “madam”, line leader, boss, immediate supervisor – whatever name we call the individual we report into in corporate Nigeria, he/she fulfils a fundamental role as connector, “middle man” and voice of the organisation to employees.

The actions (or inactions) of an employee’s direct supervisor have a crucial impact on employee engagement. Good leaders know this, which is why they strive to make employees feel valued and confident, while poor supervisors make them feel uncomfortable and increase the chances of the employee leaving the organisation.

Employees don’t usually leave companies; they leave people. Managers who fail to engage their employees by creating positive relationships with them can lead to an exodus of great talent.

A GALLUP survey provided two important insights about the “line manager effect” –

Qualities most employees value in their line manager, “Oga”, supervisor, “madam”, manager, line leader, boss, immediate supervisors are:

Setting clear and consistent expectations

Showing care, concern and interest in people

Valuing people and their unique qualities

Encouraging & supporting people development and growth

The managers who walk this talk are seem to be most successful in terms of employee retention, higher engagement within their teams and better metrics that link to company performance and profitability.

Successful supervisors or managers do the following:

Communicate positive emotions: this makes employees feel good about the organisation as a whole.

Engage in open and honest communication with employees: this allows for greater understanding of expectations and job performance.

Care enough to know staff outside work: employee’s want to feel their immediate supervisor genuinely care about them as individuals and is interested in their life outside work. It has been discovered that employees have a positive relationship with supervisors who genuinely care about them.  Authenticity is key.

Lead by example: this breeds enthusiasm and inspires employees to work harder.

Provide coaching: Employees feel they are learning and growing.

Delegate and trust employees to carry out tasks: this promotes a spirit of teamwork and cooperation.

Recognise the contribution of their subordinates: this makes employees feel their contribution matter, increase their confidence, commitment and achievement.

Supervisors need to develop the necessary interpersonal skills to become caring managers as this impacts on business performance, reduces staff turnover and enhances productivity.

Ultimately, this leads to more satisfied customers and increased sales. Building a team of effective supervisors will ensure an engaged workforce resulting in increased productivity, quality of service and higher profitability.

Are line managers building or killing employee engagement at your company? Who’s tracking?

Ngozi Adebiyi is the Lead consultant at OutsideIn HR, a firm that focuses on practical interventions that address the challenges of businesses today. The Firm also specialises in HR Business Partnering, Engagement & Retention with the goal of “Revolutionising HR in Nigeria

Ngozi Adebiyi