Over the years, management academics and leadership consultants have categorised managers into different types, according to their leadership style and attributes.
One of the latest schemas has devised by research and advisory firm Gartner, to define the attributes of successful managers in today's disruptive economy.
The manager best positioned to improve performance in the current work environment is the ‘connector manager’; according to Aaron McEwan, HR advisory leader at Gartner.
The connector manager is a skilled team member who “links employees to the right people and resources at the right time” to get the job done.
“Connector managers proactively unite employees to an organisation’s culture, engagement and leadership team, addressing the current concerns that could see valued team members look for employment opportunities elsewhere,” he added.
Moreover, connector mangers spend a lot of time assessing the skills, needs, and interests of their employees, and they recognise that many skills are best taught by people other than themselves.
Indeed, Gartner data reveals that this manager type can improve employee performance by up to 26% and increase employee engagement by up to 40%, all while navigating the complexities of today’s workplace.
Just one in four managers demonstrate the connector leadership attributes and they can be difficult to find. According to Gartner, organisations looking to develop connector managers should encourage people to:
- Take an active role to ensure high-quality development connections
- Don’t just delegate development responsibilities
- Help employees get more value from their development connections, not focus just on enlarging employees’ networks.
Other types of managers include:
These managers coach employees on the basis of their own knowledge and experience, and personally direct development.
Many have expertise in technical fields and spent years as individual contributors before rising to managerial roles.
Always-on managers provide continual coaching, stay on top of employees’ development, and give feedback across a range of skills. These managers treat upgrading their employees' skills as a daily part of their job.
These managers take a hands-off approach, delivering positive feedback and putting employees in charge of their own development.
While they are available and supportive, they aren’t as proactive as the other types of managers when it comes to developing employees’ skills.