Focusing on strengths boosts engagement: Gallup
Employees who are overlooked at work are twice as likely to be actively disengaged as those whose managers focus on their weaknesses, research by Gallup has found.
Problem-fixing methods outdatedFocusing on employees' weaknesses to "fix" them is a hangover from the industrial age when eliminating errors in the manufacturing process was the most successful way to achieve efficient production, the authors say.
"But people aren't machines, and trying to fix them as if they were simply doesn't work. Yet many organisations persist in approaching employee development with the idea that fixing weaknesses creates the greatest gain."
This focus is only effective when compared to the "terrible results" managers achieve by ignoring their workers, they say.
Engagement starting pointGallup suggests that a 4:1 ratio of engaged to actively disengaged workers is "a reasonable starting point" for organisations that want to improve performance by increasing engagement, the report says.
Employers that focus on weaknesses will have an employee engagement ratio that's half the recommended starting point, the authors note.
"Ultimately the data show that managers who focus on the strengths of their employees create the strongest levels of engagement: These managers can achieve a 60:1 ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees. Managers can reach that ratio when they realise that employees want to matter. And focusing on people's strengths is a crucial way to show them that they matter.
"Employees with managers who focus on their strengths begin to understand that they are unique and that they can contribute based on the talents that make them unique. They also understand that they are not just a cog in the wheel, but an important part of something greater than themselves."
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