How to Help Your Managers Step Up and Unleash their Team’s Potential

It can be hard to get your managers to take on their leadership role effectively. Whether you recruited, promoted or inherited your managers, what you hoped and expected from them was that they would step up to the plate and deliver.

When that doesn’t happen, it can be frustrating for both parties. And when your managers still complain about being busy and overworked despite not delivering the results you might expect, you could find yourself wondering what’s going wrong.

Here are 2 reasons why your managers might not be stepping up:


It can be difficult for managers to leave their old jobs behind, especially when they’ve been promoted in the same department/specialism and the differentiation between the new and the old role isn’t clear to them or others.

Their colleagues may also continue to escalate the same issues to them as they always did, keeping the manager trapped in their previous responsibilities.

Or the manager may feel like there’s no-one else below them that could do the job as well as they once did, so they continue doing those activities in the interests of perceived speed and ease, leaving no time left for what they’re actually supposed to be doing.

Alternatively, some managers may even be reluctant to throw themselves into the leadership role because it feels very unfamiliar to them and doing what they’ve always done provides them with some level of short-term comfort.


Your managers may have a preconception that because they hold a position of authority, they should be all-knowing and wise.

This may be further ingrained in them by their desire to continue delivering results like they once had in their more junior position – after all that’s what got them noticed and promoted in the first place. However being an ‘expert’ manager requires different skills than being an ‘expert’ contributor.

So this ends up being counter-productive, because your managers’ inclination to always provide an answer (whether they know it or not) is ensuring that their teams are always dependent on them and depriving their team members of the opportunity to develop and contribute to the true extent of their abilities.

By adopting this position, your managers will always be pulled into the minutiae of everyday problems, which their team members should be able to resolve for themselves because that’s what they’re employed to do.

In effect, this means your managers spend most of their time doing someone else’s job (at a much lower pay grade) and firefighting rather than doing the strategic work that you expect of them.

Any one of these scenarios, or a combination of both of them, will detract from your managers’ ability to do their intended jobs and will simply add to the frustration.

Time for the good news – there is a quick and easy way to help your managers step up!

Now that you’ve identified the root cause, you can find a solution that will get your managers performing better than ever.

What’s required to resolve these issues is a shift in the time your managers spend ‘Doing’ and ‘Managing versus ‘Leading’ and ‘Coaching’.

Helping your managers to embed new coaching-related behaviours in their day-to-day jobs will be the quickest and most effective thing you can do to alleviate many of the symptoms being experienced by your managers.

This type of management approach is known as ‘Operational CoachingTM. Operational CoachingTM enables leaders and managers to utilise an Enquiry-Led Approach (ELA®) rather than a command and control style of leadership.

But how does that work in practice? Well, in very simple terms, when someone approaches one of your managers with a problem, when using an Operational CoachingTM approach your managers will stop and think rather than immediately tell the person what to do (or doing it for them), and ask them a powerful question instead. In doing so, they put the focus back on their team members to find a solution to the problem by being more resourceful and confident in their abilities, and your manager gets the time back to focus on more important work.

This change in management behaviour has a multitude of proven benefits including improving engagement and retention, increasing levels of collaboration, better communication, higher performance and productivity, amongst a whole host of other benefits.

Operational CoachingTM is a totally unique approach that managers learn via the multi-award-winning STAR® Manager programme. In fact, the UK government put the fully virtual STAR® Manager programme to the test in a large business-led study involving 62 organisations across 14 sectors. The study, which was independently evaluated by the London School of Economics, proved that the STAR® Manager programme, in just six months, successfully increased the time managers spent coaching by 70% and reduced the time they spent ‘doing’.

The study also identified positive trends in several other important areas including increasing management skills across all 9 key management competencies measured, increased levels of recruitment and improved retention, as well as delivering an average learner ROI of 74 times per participating manager.

If you want to help your managers to get results like these, now’s the time for you to give them the Operational CoachingTM skills they need to step-up and deliver as a manager.

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