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The Role that Leadership Teams Play in Helping People Managers to Thrive

According to Gallup, 70% of an individual’s engagement is directly attributable to their line manager (or people manager).

Engagement is used to measure how motivated somebody is, how happy they are at work, how likely they are to stay within an organisation and how productive they are, as well.

So, if a line manager is the main factor in an individual’s engagement, supporting those line managers will undeniably have the most impact on the people they manage as well.


It’s not surprising that people managers are more likely to suffer from burnout than any other level within the organisation.

This is the reason why, as the leadership team, you need to provide the help and support your people managers need to thrive within your organisation.

The role that the leadership team takes beyond financial performance

The role of the leadership team extends well beyond financial performance, and includes:

  • Management responsibility – Not only managing and supporting their team in their current roles but also fostering an environment where they can grow and develop.
  • Building for the future - To build for growth, creating succession plans, and creating a sustainable business. To be able to build for the future, they need to step away from the doing and the detail and empower their people managers to step up as well.

The challenges encountered by the leadership team

The Leadership team have people management responsibility but often lack the confidence to this so effectively. There are people, especially within growing organisations, who find themselves in senior leadership roles (or are in the leadership team) and haven’t had training around management themselves. They therefore have to balance trying to set their people managers up for success whilst often not feeling confident in that space themselves.

The leadership team faces challenges around balancing their responsibilities, which at times appear to be contradictory or paradoxical:

  • The leadership team needs to balance strategic planning with the necessity of getting stuff done (or supporting others to get stuff done). In other words they have to find the balance between strategic and operational. Often, people in the leadership team feel more comfortable in an operational space and may hesitate to step into strategic roles. This can lead to frustration and a lack of clear direction for their teams.
  • The leadership team is accountable for an organisation’s performance while also empowering others. The leadership team needs to ensure that the organisation meets its goals, and at the same time, support and enable their employees to grow, develop, and take ownership of their work. Feeling in control whilst not knowing everything that’s happening across the team can be hard.
  • Successful leadership teams are diverse in both thinking and experiences. However this diversity brings different approaches and preferences, making it sometimes difficult to create consistency in how messages are communicated and the way people are led across the team/the organisation.

Despite the challenges encountered by the leadership teams, there are strategies that can enable them to navigate their roles and help them support their people managers.

What are the practical things that Leadership Teams can do to enable their people managers to thrive?

Here are 3 top tips that a leadership team can do to really help people managers in their organisation.

1.     Create clarity around what’s expected

There are people, especially within growing organisations, who find themselves promoted because they were strong individual contributors. And they are often likely to still be carrying out a delivery role, as well as have the responsibility for:

  • Developing and supporting people in their teams,
  • Giving input into strategic goal setting,
  • Implementing initiatives, procedures and policies that are decided by the leadership team within an organisation.

Helping them to make sense of where their priorities are and explore with them what good looks for them in their role is key.

2.     Role modelling

As the leadership team, being really clear on what it is that we expect from our people managers is crucial as well as being able to see that in practice and by being role modelled  (e.g. sharing expectations in terms of having 1:1s, giving feedback, having robust performance reviews, demonstrating vulnerability and creating psychological safety).

3.     Create space to help people managers reflect on their experiences

We need to create a space to help people managers reflect and unpick some of the learning from their experiences.

When encountering challenging situations, we usually have a real bias for action to move on the next thing. But unless we pause and reflect on how we’ve managed things, the learning will be lost, we will not be able to make informed decisions and take the correct course of action as we move forward.

That space doesn't have to necessarily be created directly by ourselves, the leadership team. Instead, we need to bring our teams together to work through and support each other to reflect on experiences, which is something that we see a lot of organisations do successfully.

To summarise

Investing in the development of your people managers is not just about supporting them individually to be productive, but is a strategic move that will help the organisation as a whole.

If you want to find out more about this topic, you can find tips and ideas in our social media posts on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn and in our newsletter in the coming weeks.

CAPE Coaching & Development equip, empower, and enable brilliant People Managers through development programmes, workshops and 1-2-1 coaching. Learn more by visiting



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