A few months ago, the Gallup organization released a report, State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders

As described in the report’s preface, the document provides “an in-depth look at what characterizes great managers” and is based on “over four decades of extensive talent research, a study of 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries and analysis from measuring the engagement of 27 million employees.”

The report states what many of us know to be true: Managers have the greatest impact on engagement. Gallup research has shown that just 30% employees in the United States are engaged at work–and worse, “over the past 12 years, this low number has barely budged, meaning that the vast majority of employees are failing to grow and contribute at work.”

This Gallup report says that managers with high talent are more likely to focus on and help build on the strengths of their employees rather than try to improve workers’ weaknesses–and here at Forte, we see evidence of this fact every day. Here’s a quote that sums it up nicely:

“A manager’s approach to strengths has a profound impact on engagement, and that engagement has a profound impact on just about everything that matters to an organization’s long-term viability.”

In describing the power of a strengths-based culture, the Gallup report offers these remarkable stats:

  • Employees who receive strengths feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than those for employees who do not receive feedback about their strengths.
  • Employees who learn to use their strengths are 7.8% more productive.
  • For the employees who agree that their managers focuses on their strengths, active disengagement falls to an astoundingly low 1%.
  • People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.
  • Teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5% greater productivity.
  • Teams that receive strengths feedback have 8.9% greater profitability.

I know so many people who complain about their managers. In fact, it’s rare to hear someone singing the praises of a boss. So if you’re a leader seeking a competitive advantage:

1. Focus on putting the right people in managerial positions

2. Provide those managers with strengths-based leadership development programs.

You’ll be way ahead of the pack…and your employees (and your bottom line) will thank you!