The Science Behind the Program
In a study of middle managers in a large retail organization with 3,000 stores, we found that the most important decision-making competence for managers is APPROPRIATE CONFIDENCE, which had significant impact on overall performance and the ability to grow sales.
Factors that influence one’s ability to stay appropriately confident include feelings, personality, cognition, skills, and motives. How all these factors work together to influence decision-making can be understood with a decision-making process model. Some parts of this model are trainable!
Successful companies (such as those on the Great Place to Work list) have identified the knowledge, skills, values, behaviors, and actions that successful leaders possess. We examined what hundreds of studies have said about what constitutes good leadership, what companies known for developing leaders do to train their people, and what our clients’ middle managers say are the more challenging tasks they face.
We found that great leaders are:
Role models who are energized and committed, personifying integrity, courage, and sound values, and inspiring trust in team members, followers, and upper management.
Problem solvers, making competent decisions dealing with everyday events, especially when confronted with ambiguous situations where emotions run high. The decisions leaders make every day define who they are.
Team builders who succeed through other individuals and teams, and effective two-way communicators who resolve conflict, show care, and act appropriately for the situation, inspiring cooperation, confidence and optimism.
Direction setters, generating profit and growing the business, envisioning change and embracing calculated risk taking, leading the way with an entrepreneurial spirit while budgeting and prioritizing effectively.
Customer champions, focused on serving customers’ needs, thinking and acting win-win for company and customer.
Structure creators, organizing people, projects, tasks, and resources for optimal coordination and flow, opening communication, and generating alignment.
Position skilled, competent and knowledgeable in the role they hold in the company.
Focus on Middle Managers
Middle managers are the HINGE upon which an organization’s ability to execute and engage employees/teams rests, and the PIPELINE for future executives. Middle managers are the "ears and eyes" of upper management because they are closer to day-to-day operations, customers and front-line employees. They act as communicators, delivering information about organizational change initiatives to those in lower levels. Through their personal relationships with employees, middle managers can uncover resistance and barriers to implementing change, and provide employees with a "safe" environment so they can carry on with their everyday responsibilities.
Research has shown that the top skills middle managers must develop to succeed are:
Solving problems and analyzing issues (PROBLEM SOLVER)
Inspiring and motivating others (ROLE MODEL)
Collaboration and teamwork (TEAM BUILDER)
Generating results (DIRECTION SETTER, CUSTOMER CHAMPION)
Communicating powerfully, generating relationships (STRUCTURE CREATOR)