Empowering Manager's to support their teams

Posted on 3rd September 2019

Previous data collected from departing employees, analysed in a Gallup survey conducted in 2018 suggests that people tend to leave managers and not the company. With one in two people admitting that they left a role due to their manager, this is a stark warning to employers.

How can we be sure that our managers are contributing to our turnover rate? Can a great manager be created or is it a skill set that is an intrinsic personality trait?

It is not uncommon to find employees who excel at their role being promoted away from the practical element of the role into that of a manager. In certain circumstances leaving on a friday as one of the team and arriving on the monday as one of the management team, with little to no support to make that transition.

Whilst training programmes such as a CMI Certificate in the principles of management and leadership or the CMI Certificate in management coaching and mentoring can be a great foundation stone for learning and developing management skills, I have suggested some areas below to assist with the development of your managers;


For the managers to empower their employees they first need to be empowered themselves. The business needs to have a clear vision and mission that is shared with the manager, so that they understand the role they are to play in the bigger picture. Where possible those managers should have the opportunity to contribute ideas or suggestions for consideration by the business.


For employees to be engaged they first need to know that they are valued and that they contribute to the overall business success. Managers need to be aware of their actions and how they contribute to that engagement; on occasions an individual’s perception of their management skills is an accurate reflection on reality.

Sometimes sincere and genuine thanks for a job well done with actions that cement the perceived worth of the individual, can be all it takes to engage with a team member.

Decision making

Managers need to be trusted to make decisions. If you do not permit your managers to make decisions, or seek to undermine or reverse those decisions, there is little point employing the person in a managerial role. It can be a leap of faith to let go, to trust a manager with your business. Whilst we would not wish people to fail, the opportunity to reflect on failure can be a huge learning opportunity. Businesses need to support managers to take risks and then assist them in understanding what went well and what could be modified to increase the chance of success in the future.


Many issues begin with communication. Provide your manager’s with regular feedback. How are they doing? Is there an area that needs some attention, either operationally or in their management skill set?  Do your manager’s have opportunities to seek advice from more experienced managers or sense check decisions without fear of negative repercussions?

How clearly are tasks and responsibilities explained? It is a common mistake to assume that once someone is a manager, they will know what to do.


In an ideal world we would have the ability to transfer all the tacit knowledge gained through years of experience in a role to a new manager. As yet, the technology only exists in fiction, but we can increase management exposure to workplace situations as part of a structured development process. The first occasion of a challenging conversation can be daunting but gradually over a period of time experience can soften the thought of completing the task.


Trust your managers. Most people come to work to do a good job. They want to contribute to the success of the business. Whilst they will not always follow the same path you might have chosen; their route might still work or indeed be an improvement on a way of working. Clarify expectations of what needs to occur, what the desired outcomes need to be and then trust a manager to manage.


A structured development plan indicates to the manager that the business is committed to them. By focusing on not just operational skills but soft management skills confirms the value that the business places on their role as a manager.

Learning does not end after the induction period, knowledge gained throughout their career is essential to their development as a manager. By facilitating opportunities to learn and providing managers with the relevant tools to keep up to date with developments, there is the potential to push your business forward and challenge continuous improvements.

For any further advice on HR or accredited CMI training you can contact us on 01536 215240 or email info@gatewayhr.com

Gwyneth Hodgkinson Character
Written by:
Gwyneth Hodgkinson
HR Development Consultant