Management & leadership

I recently re-read an awesome book called First, Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham & Kurt Coffman.

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Management & leadership

I recently re-read an awesome book called First, Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham & Kurt Coffman. The book is based on research conducted by Gallup on over a million employees and 80,000 managers. It outlines the common characteristics of great managers from around the world and the core elements needed to attract, focus, and keep the most talented employees.

Gallup found that they could measure employee engagement based on the answers to the following questions:

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?

2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?

3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday?

4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?

5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?

The book is excellent and essential reading for anyone in a leadership or HR role, it’s where the idea came up that managers trump companies or ‘people don’t quit companies, they quit their bosses’.

It was first published in May 1999 – fast forward to 2019, and despite the numerous research articles, books and information available everywhere, we are still seeing many organisations struggle with engagement and productivity.

According to Gallup in 2016, only 33% of employees in the United States were engaged, and employee engagement as a whole only increased by 3% from 2012-2016.

We know that managers have a huge impact on engagement, performance and productivity in the workplace – so what exactly are the key skills managers need to be successful in 2019 and beyond?

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is critical – managers must be able to not take things personally and forge ahead with plans without worrying about the impact on their ego, they must focus on progress and deal with set backs constructively in the workplace.

Cultural Intelligence

Future workplaces will be diverse and global. Managers will be required to become adept at appreciating and leveraging the creative resources within their teams to create maximum value for their customers and stakeholders.


Due to the speed of change, managers need to be agile and embrace and celebrate change while learning new approaches, markets and technology quickly.


With a multigenerational and multicultural workforce, managers need to build connection and trust quickly within their teams. They need to collaborate with and work alongside their employees, getting to know them and helping them acquire new skills and leverage their strengths.

Leadership skills

Traditional leadership styles are being replaced. The ego-centric managerial approach is no longer sustainable. Effective managers are now collaborative contributors, who focus on team development and help create psychological safety within their teams.

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