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What is the most important “Manager Superpower”? is this a superpower that anyone can get?

Before we get started, have you found out your own Boss SuperPower? Find out what makes you unique. (and what your Kryptonite is)

I often get asked - what is the most important manager skill to have. This has inspired this topic. I thought about it for some time because it’s difficult to choose between the 4 Manager Foundation cornerstones. (Employee Selection, Performance Relationships, Performance Communication and Inspiring Growth). But I realized that all these options have something in common, and that is the power to engage & motivate your employees. Because your employees can solve every single business problem you have. But only if they are motivated enough. This is the difference between bosses who play the role of villains and bosses who walk the earth as heroes. This is how you can be a superhero boss without getting bitten by a radioactive spider.

PS: You can be a SuperHero to your employees if you run plain and simple One-on-ones like these

Why Engaged Employees are worth their weight in gold

Engaged staff take pride in their work and derive satisfaction from a job well done. They figure out how to solve their own problems. Engaged employees are persistent and determined to succeed. Engaged staff stay, not because of what they can get, but because of what they can give. Engaged staff stay and perform because of job satisfaction and the sense of worth that they get from their jobs.

Imagine if your employees were all engaged - your life as a boss would seem so easy that others would think that you must be some type of super hero.

Engaged Employees are so wonderful - where do I get them?

I wish I had a button I could push to make my staff more engaged. The ability to engage employees would really be a manager superpower worth having.

But magical superpowers are in short supply. Is there anything that people like you and me that don’t live on the pages of a comic book can do to engage our employees?

I have yet to find a potion that instantly makes someone fully engaged. But I have found several things that do increase employee engagement in fact they work so well it's like a magical incantation. The reason that these work is because this is what your employees want from their jobs. And you will know it's true because you will recognise that these are things that that you want from your own job. By the way, money isn't one of them.

  1. Having a good relationship with your boss with regular, dependable, open communications. To be listened to and be treated as an individual (this is why One-on-Ones like this are a surprisingly simple way to motivate your employees;

  2. To do meaningful work and to have your contribution acknowledged. To do work that is important to other people;

  3. To grow and improve your capabilities. To do something that you are good at and;

  4. To use your unique skills and your strengths. To be trusted with more responsibilities. The freedom to do your work the way you think it should be done.

The difference between knowing and doing

But knowing what engages staff is not useful unless you know how to make this work in practice. And Super heroes need to move quickly. Bosses are too busy doing their own jobs to spend all their time motivating employees. Is there a way to engage your employees that doesn't suck up all your time? It's great that good relationships motivate employees but these take ages to develop. So I understand this is why bosses struggle to invest time in building relationships. 

For me I invest in building relationships but I do it in a way that I also get something back from it right away. And relationships are complicated - is there even a formula that you can use to build relationships?

Building solid Foundations for bosses

Want to know how to be a great manager? There is more than one way to engage employees.  What I will share with you are some of the formulaic methods that I use. But before you can fly you have got to make sure that your foundations are solid.

  1. Employee Selection: Firstly if you're hiring the wrong employees, it doesn't matter how good you are as a boss, you'll always be fighting in amateur league
  2. Performance Relationships: Most Superheroes work alone. But bosses are nothing without their team. Expecting employees to be engaged without a functioning relationship is dumber than wearing your underpants over your pants ;-)
  3. Performance Communications: Some Superheroes have mind control. But if you don't have mind control then the only way to get your employees to do what you want is to have powerful, persuasive communications
  4. Inspiring Growth: We all know the story. In the beginning, the villain reigns supreme and it looks like all is lost for our poor protagonist. But the hero learns how to overcome the problems that were holding them back. And it's the same for you and your employees. We are all stuck unless we learn to grow to be better than our past selves.

These are the Management Foundations, because these are the foundations that you build employee engagement and high performing teams on. See the diagram for what the foundations look like visually.

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Formulaic methods to engage employees

So that's a little about what engages employees without money. And what foundations support high performance. And this is where the magic happens because I'm sure you can see that they have a lot in common. These are just two sides of the same coin. What your employees want vs. the management foundations. 

A quick example is Inspiring Performance Communication. Managers use performance feedback to change employee behaviors to improve or fix performance. Performance feedback isn't praise and it's not criticism. But when you use the right words what happens is:

  • Your staff feel valued
  • Your staff feel like they are doing meaningful work and,
  • You can even get your staff to promise to do better.

So what happens is employees get what they want from their job but you as a boss also get what you need. This is why using the right words in Performance Communication is so effective that it's like using a magical incantation. (See the Power of positive feedback for an example of how powerful simple words can be). 

The Management Foundations are specifically designed so that they give you something that you want. But at the same time the technique also engages your employees. Sounds like a pretty good place to be so this is why I call this the Management Sweetspot.

The Management Foundations incorporate four key manager skills:

  1. Building Functional Relationships and Communication,

  2. Inspiring Performance Communication, 

  3. Increasing staff performance through Developing their skills and abilities and

  4. Increasing staff responsibilities through Delegation that Works

Tip: Regular one-on-one meetings are the best place for you to practice these fundamental manager skills. Get your free one-on-one form here to show you how.

The Management SweeTspot & Bosscamp

The funny thing is that when you motivate your employees using these "intrinsic" motivators. Not only will your employees work harder, but they will also get more job satisfaction and respect you more as their boss. I explain how to be a great manager and how to do this in my program.


People are incredibly resourceful and can do amazing things. But they need to be motivated to try. The power to engage & motivate your employees is the best superpower that a manager can have. In fact I’d go one step further and say that if your employees aren't engaged then your job as a manager will be vastly more difficult. Engaging your employees is something that anyone can do but can take time and effort. The way to be a “Manager Superhero” isn't to try and do everything yourself, to know everything or to fix everything. Managers who are superhero's motivate their employees to fix their own problems and to do great work. The time saving way to do this is to integrate employee engagement into the management actions that you are already doing everyday. This will make a “Management Sweetspot” which is how you can make managing easy.


Do you know that regular, high quality one-on-ones with your employees are the single easiest management practice. Do one-on-ones right and not only can you can take care of almost all your management responsibilities in one go but they will also deliver you to manager Nirvana . It almost seems too good to be true – which could be why some managers don’t believe in them.

The reason why not every manager believes in one-on-ones is because not every manager knows how to do fast, high quality one-on-ones. As with anything in life, do it wrong and you're simply not going to see the results. But do it right and one-on-ones will change your life and deliver you to management nirvana. 

And the reason why bosses and employees have poor one on ones is simply because no-one shows you how to have high quality One-ones. I know none of my my bosses every taught me this skill and clearly no-one ever showed them either. What I do with Manager Foundation is that I show you the real world boss skills that you need but they don't teach you in university. That's why I made a mini-course on one-on-ones (including a one-on-one template with a one-on-one meeting agenda) which will show you 3 Easy Steps 2 1 on 1's. What I expect you'll find is that you already know some of the content on some type of level but maybe you're not putting it into practice. This will help. As I say this is essential for new managers and helpful for experienced managers.


Do you have any comments, questions or tips about managing employees? Help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.

Boss Camp

Do you know that one study showed that close to 80% of employees think their boss is a lousy manager? Being a boss is hard, find out how to make managing easy at WWW.BOSS.CAMP. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to motivate employees,
  • What are bad employee motivators,
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
  • How leaders get power.