​What Good Managers Know


A 2015 Gallup study showed that a shocking 67% of employees were either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work. This is a very concerning statistic as engagement encompasses ideals such as “having the opportunity to do what they do best each day,” being encouraged by a leader, and the belief that opinions matter. And those factors have a direct impact on important measures of success like productivity and profitability. So, how do successful managers encourage engagement?

Leading by example

Employees want to see that their managers are putting in the same kinds of hours they are, both during work and after hours. Managers who worked more hours had employees who worked 19% more hours and had 5% greater engagement. Similarly, fewer work hours by the manager led to less engagement by employees.

Fair allocation of work

Long hours weren’t necessarily a negative, but they were when they were carried by a small number of workers. Employees who worked longer hours than the rest of their team were significantly more likely to be disengaged and to have negative feelings about their managers. Managers who distribute work evenly across teams have more engaged team members.

Creating a network

Employees were more engaged when they believed their manager had a strong internal network. When an employee had a 110% larger network than their manager, they were 50% more likely to be disengaged and twice as dissatisfied with leadership.


One-on-one interactions between employees and managers is important. Fewer one-on-ones means less engaged employees. If there were no one-to-one talks, employees were four times as likely to be disengaged.

Be honest about strengths and successes

It is tempting to see the successful completion of a task as a win and to move on. Good managers look back to understand who is truly responsible for the success (and do not take all the credit and glory) and to recognize where there were internal conflicts and competitions that negatively impacted the team. Such managers are consistently aware of differences and do not hesitate to address them head on.

For more, take a look at “What Great Managers Do Daily" in Harvard Business Review and “Knowing the Manager You Really Are" in Computerworld.