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How Well Do Managers Manage?

June 16, 2017 | John Salustri

That was the question put forth by Gallup in a recent survey, and the results, especially for people who are in the business of management, are surprising.

As Ben Wigert and Annamarie Mann write in their article, "How Managers Can Excel by Really Coaching Their Employees", “the answer to that simple question may have a profound impact on how employees are managed, now and into the foreseeable future.”

Now, just to be clear, we’re talking about you as a manager of your business as opposed to your talents as a property manager, and we’re referencing the skills that all managers need to motivate staff and, ultimately, pass their businesses onto another generation.

The results of the poll are, frankly, disheartening. “The problem is, recent Gallup research finds that only about one in four employees ‘strongly agree’ that their manager provides meaningful feedback to them,” the writers say, “or that the feedback they receive helps them do better work. Even more alarming is that a mere 21% of employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.”

But the good news is that many managers know there’s bad news, and they’re doing something about it. Gallup reports that companies are putting a bigger emphasis on such remedies as more frequent and ongoing performance reviews. Annual or semi-annual reviews they realize, just aren’t cutting it.

But in that good news, we find some more bad news. “In our work and discussions with managers, we've seen that many don't feel comfortable assuming these new expectations or that they haven't received additional support or guidance about how to have these conversations effectively. Some managers don't even consider it part of their job, which begs the question: Are companies setting managers up to fail by asking them to do something they either don't know how to do or believe they shouldn't be doing at all?” Or, to put it another way, are the managers being managed properly?

“The answer has serious implications for companies, as managers have the greatest impact on driving performance and engagement within their teams,” says Gallup. “Managers need to be at the heart of changing traditional performance management approaches.”

But change them to what? The writers suggest that they change to a performance-development approach. “Essentially, this shift requires managers to create an ongoing dialogue about performance that is individualized to the needs and unique talents of each employee.

“To master this new approach,” they continue, “managers must take ownership of their employees' development and think of themselves in a new way: as a coach, not a boss. This approach also requires that leaders take ownership of manager development to teach them how to be effective coaches.”

We provide coaching tips in the IREM White Paper on Leadership Development: Coaching and Development. And it also comes down to a topic we’ve discussed a lot in this space and in the Journal of Property Management—hiring properly. “Great coaches aren't hard to spot,” says Gallup. “Managers who excel at coaching have learned how to lead strengths-based and engagement-focused conversations.”

Finally, the writers offer three touchstones for those conversations: Establish expectations that are clear, collaborative and aligned with the organization's goals; Have frequent, focused and future-oriented coaching conversations; and Create accountability that is fair and accurate, as well as developmental and achievement-oriented.

Great bosses are only partly made. The are also groomed. But it takes great bosses to make great bosses. So what kind of manager are you?

Read the full Gallup article here.

About the Author
John Salustri is editor-in-chief of Salustri Content Solutions, Inc., a consultancy focused on enhancing the web and print content of clients around the nation. He is a regular contributor to JPM Magazine and a frequent blogger for IREM’s website. Prior to launching SCS, John was founding editor of, the industry’s premier real estate news website, where he managed the daily output of 25 international reporters, and prior to that, he was editor of Real Estate Forum Magazine. John is a four-time winner of the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ Award for Excellence in Journalism.


19 Jun 2017 | Victor B Murray
Well written and thought provoking. Considering the mutual best interests that IREM managers share with their colleagues, the multiplier impact that these colleagues have on their employees, tenants and service providers this is worthwhile advice. Hopefully positive recognition of successful performance-based results will be appreciated and reciprocally rewarded by clients who have the industry's best interests at heart.
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