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Managers spend just half their time on value-added work

Clarity of delegated accountability key to improving effectiveness, research finds

27 October 2014

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Managers regularly spend more than two days a week doing tasks they should not be doing.

That's according to a study of more than 200 managers in eight organisations which found that, on average, managers are operating at just 55 per cent of effectiveness.

"The opportunities for improvement are tremendous," said Dwight Mihalicz, president of Effective Managers and co-researcher of the study.

"Imagine a 10 per cent increase in productivity in an organisation with 100 managers - it's like engaging an extra 10 managers to focus on key organisational objectives."

The research found that managers only spend 55 per cent of their time on value-added work that is appropriate to their position and capability.

A fifth of managers' time is spent doing work they weren't hired to do. This includes reading emails they should have to read, attending meeting they shouldn't have to attend and engaging in conflicts with co-workers in other departments.

A further quarter of managers' time is spent performing tasks that could be delegated to administrative support.

The research suggests that organisational systems may be to blame, as they are often more of a hindrance than a help.

More than two-thirds of managers said their organisation's performance management system does not work. In addition, less than half said they had been given clear objectives.

The research found that manager effectiveness is very highly correlated with clarity of delegated accountability and the degree to which managers feel they are accountable.

But, over a third of managers said they are not clear about what their managers hold them accountable for.

"In the absence of total clarity, direct-report managers are pulled in several different directions by peers, stakeholders and customers, and are distracted from the real work that is required for both effectiveness at the team and organizational levels," the whitepaper says.

The research findings have important ramifications for organisational success. According to Gallup, work groups that are ineffectively managed are 50 per cent less productive and 44 per cent less profitable.

The whitepaper Are Your Managers Effective?, which outlines the research findings, was released at a recent management conference in South Korea.

 

 

 

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