Who do you work for?


After exploring the reasons “why people stay on their jobs” in the last article, it is necessary to identify who employees really work for.

Are employees motivated to work because of their organization or their managers?

This is a question that management in organizations should begin to answer as they start to work on issues pertaining to increasing productivity in their organization.

An understanding of this, I think is the main lever to addressing performance improvement in organisations.

In many ways it will become apparent how significant managers that posses superior leadership capabilities are in increasing performance.

In previous surveys conducted in multi-disciplinary industries, the majority of employees stated that – apart from working for themselves and their families as a means for earning a living; they worked more for managers than for their organization.

Managers were the reason they felt highly motivated to continue to perform to their utmost capability.

Managers who had superior leadership skills increased employees’ confidence in the business, and increased employee involvement with the organisation and encouraged a better understanding of the organisation’s direction and goals.

Participants to the surveys stated the following as some of the characteristics that managers with superior leadership displayed:

* Ability to engage in open two way communication
* Recognising a job well done
* Facilitating opportunities to challenge, mentor and coach employees
* Willingness to allowing employees some control over their work/ work environment
* Encouraging employees an opportunity to fix any negative aspects of their performance

The foundation to these characteristics lies in communication.

Getting managers to talk to employees is such a powerful tool first step to high levels of performance.

For most people it is important to know how to win—that is, how to please the person who has the greatest impact on their work day that is, their immediate superior or manager.

I believe that, for the last couple of years in Zimbabwean organizations there has been the inconsistency and poor quality of leadership and management skills.

This was not apparent as most companies had come to a place where they were not relying on their main business activities for income but relying very much on non core activities and hence performance issues took the back bench.

Consequently there was no real emphasis on productivity and performance. It has not been unusual to see that sometimes poor performers not only escaped being held accountable, but they were allowed to contaminate the workplace.

With the changes that have seen companies reverting back to core business, this has seen a great need for leadership capabilities that stimulate productivity.

Increased leadership Capabilities is a strategy for increased Job Satisfaction and productivity that organizations should pursue.

Increasing leadership will entail Leadership Development Programs for management to increase the confidence that employees have for their organizations’ leadership and therefore their motivation.

For at the end of the day employees work for managers and not organisations.

Effective and appropriate leadership and performance management skills are key factors in determining the quality of performance in an organization.

The person an employee reports to has the greatest influence on the quality of work life, job satisfaction and employee loyalty.

Organisations need to realize that the manager sets the tone and is the major influence on the employee in the work environment.

The immediate supervisor or manager plays the determining role regarding employee retention and the quality of employee performance.

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman provided insight into employee productivity and employee retention in their landmark book, First Break All the Rules.

This insight, based on over twenty-five years of research by the Gallup Organization, identified the relationship between the employee and his or her direct supervisor or manager as the number one influence on how long an employee stays and how productive he or she is.

The conclusion is that people leave managers, not organizations!

For leadership and performance management to be successful and impact both employee productivity and retention in a positive way superior leadership abilities are required for all managers.

It is therefore extremely important for organizations to invest in developing leadership skills of all their managers.

Zhangazha is a human resources expert in Harare