Why it is difficult to find good managers

As a law firm with a focus on commercial and corporate law and contract design we had the chance to experience a lot of managers in various positions in companies. Some of them really impressed us and that made us curious about the secret of “good managers”. Therefore we spoke to a lot of company owners, experienced managers and also did some research to back our findings from the discussions on them matter “when is a company manager a good manager”.

Helpful and straight to the point was research by the Gallup Institute. Gallup had studied and measured the engagement and performance of more than 20 million employees at hundreds of organizations over two decades. No matter the industry, size, or location, Gallup had found that great managers have the following five talents:

  • They motivate every employee to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision.
  • They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome resistance.
  • They create a culture of accountability.
  • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue and transparency.
  • They make decisions that are not based on politics, but on productivity.

According to Gallup’s research only about one in ten people possess all these five talents and are therefore able to help a team – and subsequently a company – to achieve excellence in a way that significantly improves a company’s performance. These 10%, when put in manager roles,

  • naturally engage team members and customers,
  • retain top performers
  • and sustain a culture of high productivity

(it’s important to note that another two in 10 exhibit some characteristics of basic managerial talent and can function at a high level if their company invests in coaching and developmental plans for them).

According to our discussions, a lot of companies promote workers into managerial positions because these workers seemingly deserve it, rather than because they have the talent for it. The outcome from this practice is questionable at least. Experience and skills are important, but the naturally recurring patterns in the ways someone thinks, feels, and behaves – this is called “talent” – predict where they’ll perform at their best. Knowledge, experience, and skills might develop talents, but unless one possesses the right innate talents for a job, no amount of training or experience will matter.

Of course we have to admit that as a law firm we are not natural experts in the field of company management. But because our clients are only companies and therefore we only deal with managers, from our experience and our discussions we can confirm the findings by the Gallup Institute. We think that companies should put a lot of effort into finding good managers to help improve the performance of the company.

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The law firm Lexa specializes in extrajudicial counselling regarding corporate law and contract drafting. Our clients are companies of all sizes. Interested in more information? Follow us on Twitter (kanzlei_lexa) or “like” our Facebook fan page (kanzlei.lexa). And please visit our law firm website (Link) or our blog (Link).


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About Carsten Lexa

Carsten Lexa, LL.M. holds an LL.M. in International Commercial Law from the University of Westminster in London, UK. He has been an Attorney at Law in Germany since September 2005: He was Associate Attorney at the law firm of Lachner Graf von Westphalen Spamer in Frankfurt am Main until May 2007 (Commercial Law / Corporate Law) and has been a Partner in the law firm of WPV Rechtsanwälte until May 2009 dealing with Commercial Law / Corporate Law / Contract Law matters. In June 2009, Carsten Lexa established his own law firm, advising corporate clients, especially family businesses, in the areas of Commercial, Corporate and Contract Law matters (Website: www.kanzlei-lexa.de). Carsten Lexa is also engaged in the academic side of the Law, being appointed Examiner at the Julius-Maximilians-University in Würzburg, and he is seminar facilitator in the field of claim management, company formation and company restructuring. Since 2010, he is also associate professor at the University of Applied Science in Würzburg.
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