November 08, 2021
November 08, 2021
Contributor: Sari Wilde
If you want to develop and retain strong employees without compromising their health and well-being, Connector managers are your secret weapon.
When Gartner studied manager effectiveness before the pandemic, we identified Connector managers as the clear winners in building high-performing employees. We’ve now confirmed this manager type still outperforms — even in today’s stressful, disrupted times.
Download Report: The Top HR Trends and Priorities for 2023
Throughout the pandemic, employees have generally worked harder, put in longer hours, and become even more productive. But while performance has increased, psychological safety, inclusion and intent to stay have all declined. And managers themselves are facing a confidence crisis, unsure how best to be effective.
To succeed, managers must first acknowledge how seismic the changes are in their work environment, particularly in these three ways:
Next, we have to reconsider what “performance” we’re even hoping to achieve.
Download now: The Connector Managers Create a Performance Advantage
For the benefit of both employers and employees, we need to redefine the desired outcome for managers, and today, that means eliciting performance that is sustainable.
In other words, we need managers to support employees’ performance without compromising their long-term health.
In surveying thousands of employees and managers, we found that sustainable performers were 17% more productive than other employees — and 1.7 times more likely to stay at their organization.
Would Connector managers prove able to drive this sustained performance?
When Jaime Roca and I first studied manager effectiveness before the pandemic, we identified four distinct manager types and found that one — the Connector manager — improved employee performance by 26% and tripled the likelihood that their direct reports were high performers.
Our latest research shows the Connector boosts sustainable performance by as much as 45%.
Conversely, our new research finds that Teacher managers degrade sustainable performance, as they have been anchoring their guidance and coaching on past experiences that are no longer relevant to the current situation. The Always-On Manager — which many organizations continue to favor — has no real impact on sustainable performance. We know providing more feedback and check-ins does not generate sustainable performance. Finally, Cheerleaders have a marginally greater positive impact on their staff, which they achieve through sheer positive empowerment.
Learn more: Meet the Connector Manager
Connectors still succeed as managers by making employee, team and organizational connections, but they have adapted the ways they create these connections to meet the needs of the new work environment. Instead of trying to provide or facilitate coaching to drive current performance, they focus on supporting the whole person to drive well-being and sustainable performance.
To help your managers become Connectors, set expectations for managers, senior leaders and employees about their roles in creating a Connector organization. And encourage managers to assess what traits and behaviors they can adopt to become Connectors.
Join your peer CHROs and senior HR executives from leading organizations to discuss specific HR challenges and learn top HR trends and priorities.
Recommended resources for Gartner clients*:
The Connector Manager Approach to Coaching
Ignition Guide to Building a Connector Manager Coaching Program
*Note that some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.