The  research-based TIGERS 6 Principles comprehensive collaborative workforce development and leadership development platform took a critical look at Gallop’s recent State of the American Manager Report and found areas of agreement and disruption.  An evaluation of key Gallop findings along with actionable solutions you can start taking today is featured. 

State of the manager review

Do talented leaders hide in plain sight?  At TIGERS we know they do. They are found in the learning circles that managers in the Leadership Fundamental trainings launch to improve trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success behaviors on their teams.  As a result we dug into the State of the American Manager Report report and have important findings to share with you.

We found their report credible because four decades of talent research that included 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries that measured the engagement of 27 million employees was involved.

At TIGERS we know that there is a solid link between talented managers, employee engagement and high performance business outcomes that include productivity and profitability.  It is all part of a system of human performance that is headed up by middle and executive managers.

The State of the American Manager Report’s disruptive comments

We did find Jim Clifton’s comments disruptive. Jim is the CEO of Gallop and I am going to quote him directly.  Jim says, “Most CEOs I know honestly don’t care about employees or take an interest in human resources. Sure, they know who their stars are and love them — but it ends there.”

Clifton continues, “They put little to no pressure on their HR departments to get their cultures right, which allows HR to unwittingly implement all kinds of development and succession strategies that don’t work. Gallup estimates that the manager accounts for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.”

The report states very clearly that when managers possess innate talent and receive proper development their teams win customers.  But the rub is that according to the report’s data, Organizational leaders fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the manager job 82% of the time. That is an enormous number.

At TIGERS we have known CEO’s with different attitudes about employee development.  Most recently the managers in the TIGERS Leadership Fundamentals Course are also showing both heart and interest in how their employees thrive both at work and personally.  These are managers who come from organizations with 50-800 employees.

What we analyze that is different from the report is that more collaborative organizations with talented team leaders simply see the world of work differently. They understand group process.  They also know that they don’t need thousands of employees to gain high rankings in market share or to throw at problems.  This is because behaviors and attitudes that enhance trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk resolution and success (TIGERS 6 Principles) produce employee engagement as natural outcomes.

Gallop Report Findings

  • Gallup found that only 10% of working people possess the talent to be a great manager.
  • Gallup estimates that managers who lack talent cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually.
  • 18% of current managers have the high talent required of their role.
  • 82% of current managers do not have high talent.

TIGERS has been teaching for years that just because an individual does well in their job, such as sales and screwing widgets together, it doesn’t mean they will excel as managers who engage and develop their workforce.

Gallop endorses that great managers possess a combination of five talents.  The five talents are:

First, we are not sure if assertiveness in overcoming obstacles is a character trait or is combined with the communication skills that are assertive rather than aggressive or passive aggressive as taught in Genuine Communicator. However, the report claims that when people are elevated into management positions AFTER proving they possess these five talents, their organizations experience a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, a 30% increase in employee engagement scores, a 17% increase in customer engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover.

That seems credible to us.

The report also found that:

  • Talented managers are also more engaged than their peers.
  • They speak highly of their organizations in social gatherings.
  • They focus more on their employees’ strengths than weaknesses.

Gallup found that a strengths-based approach is associated with greater levels of employee engagement and well-being and team productivity and profitability.

Gallop’s research also found that:

  • Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.
  • 35% of managers are engaged, 51% are not engaged and 14% are actively disengaged.
  • Managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually.
  • One in two employees have left their job to get away from their manager at some point in their career.
  • Employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers.
  • Female managers are more likely to be engaged than male managers (41% to 35%, respectively).
  • Individuals who work for a female manager are six percentage points more engaged, on average, than those who work for a male manager.
  • Female employees working for female managers have the highest engagement (35% engaged),
  • Employees of female managers outscore employees of male managers on 11 of 12 engagement items.

The last four points are consistent with the findings of another highly credible consultancy, Zenger-Folkman whose strength based leadership assessment found similar results.

Behaviors beyond trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk resolution and success that increase employee engagement

At TIGERS we believe that it is important to create a talent-based human performance strategy both for the development of employees and managers. We believe this human stakeholder approach points everyone’s goals and initiatives toward the benefit of the entire organization and not just departments.

We agree with the report findings that:

  • Managers who are approachable and engaged build solid teams.
  • Managers who help employees set work priorities and take the time to gain a high level of understanding around goal achievement have more productive teams.
  • Mangers who focus on understanding an employee’s positive characteristics and strengths produce more engagement on their teams.
  • The top performers in organizations deserve the highest pay whether they are front-line employees or managers.
  • Organizations back themselves into a corner when they tie pay to managerial status, creating an environment in which employees constantly compete for roles that don’t suit them and feed the poor selection of managers’ conundrum.
  • A job title doesn’t negate an individual’s need for ongoing learning.

At TIGERS we believe that talent develops from knowledge, experience and skills. Some of the experience comes from making mistakes and correcting them.  However, when a leader is tossed off the boat to sink or swim without proper assessment and development, it is no wonder so managers now days feel they are drowning.  And, we can’t blame them.

What can you do going forward based on these findings

Performance management is the process that leaders use to improve the performance of their workforce. An effective performance management strategy motivates, measures and develops the performance of all employees to support big-picture goals.

Establish clear expectations

Start with clear expectations of the work you want to see performed. Clear expectations explain work procedures, unified goals, and how the work to be done fits into success and the important work employees do. For cross-functional teams, it is establishing clear expectations about group process and group behavior norms. This can also apply to departments.  Without clear expectations, you can’t measure whether your employees are reaching or exceeding their goals.


Be transparent and communicate the “why” behind your expectations. This helps employees understand their importance to the big picture.

Establish clear goals

Leaders and employees should work together to set clear and aligned goals. This creates ownership and accountability for outcomes. Therefore, define key results, performance outcomes, hand-off work importance and establish deadlines to help employees stay on track. Then check on goal progress with continuous communication to uncover what is going well and what isn’t. This is much different than micro-management. It is the process of using a management position to remove obstacles from employee performance success or to coach employees through the obstacle. Once these understandings are in place, it is much easier to support employees to achieve success that ultimately employees feel personally satisfied accomplishing.

Give and receive constructive feedback

Give employees the chance to learn, grow, and improve their performance with constructive feedback. View a mistake as an important learning opportunity rather than a condition for punishment. Let employees see what they are doing well, and where they are falling short to boost trust and performance.  The TIGERS Workforce Behavioral Profile, for example, is a 360 feedback tool that identifies which of the TIGERS 6 Principles to focus on in group and leadership performance and helps teams that have gone off track.

Appreciation and recognition

Employees psychologically require recognition for their efforts—big or small—that contribute to team and business success. It’s imperative for improving motivation and morale. When employees are recognized for their efforts, they are more likely to continue that behavior in the future. The old saying, nothing succeeds like success holds true. This recognition could be a simple conversation that specifically shares what you believe the employee did well, what you observed that proved they are growing professionally and unearths what the employee enjoyed and liked about the goal.  It is not the time to spell out what could have been improved. Save those comments for coaching and feedback.

Coaching and feedback

One-on-one meetings with employees that focus on what is going well and sharing behavior and skill observations that could be improved build engagement and productivity. It also builds trust when the employee knows that you are on their side in helping them succeed. This type of employee feedback creates a more positive employee experience and helps you incorporate employee ideas that fit well into daily operations.  When employees see some of their ideas deployed, they understand their importance to the organization and benefits become a two-way street.

Build trust, respect and interdependence.

Both employees and managers require a foundation of trust, respect, and inclusion. Trust and respect among team members is a foundation for effective collaboration. Interdependent diversity of experience and thought provides perspective, versatility, and creativity. The best teams celebrate these differences and view them as strengths.   Your efforts to increase trust, respect, and Interdependence should be top of mind to promote improved performance and engagement.

Build respect for learning organizations

Provide learning and growth opportunities for both leaders and employees. In the Leadership Fundamentals Buddy Training, we teach you and a colleague to use a couple of tools that build learning among your employees that results in improved behavior, collaboration and refined ways of doing things.


The Gallop report has findings worth considering and what the TIGERS 6 Principles research put into practice over thirty years ago. And we have compared the report with the TIGERS 6 Principles and development opportunities for both employees and managers that prepare people in advance for managerial or team leader appointment.  We believe middle managers and supervisors deserve training in advance of appointments and that the training needs to be immersive with practice that actually improves an organization within the training design.  We also believe that managers in training required repeated access to training materials because only so much can be accomplished at one time. One-off events and day long training produce much lower transference of learning into improved skills and attitudes.

Care to dig deeper into this conversation?

Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton

TIGERS 6 PrinciplesAbout the TIGERS 6 Principles™

The TIGERS 6 Principles empower Executives and Consultants with a comprehensive collaborative work culture and leadership system to resolve avoidable talent, engagement and work community problems that stunt growth.

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