Some unexpected findings, some continuing trends: the state of manager-team relationships in 2019

Every 6 months or so we publish findings from the RBX Index platform, which our clients and partners use to measure the quality of relationships between people in their organisations. So far, over 10,000 participants have contributed to our dataset in 2019, taking the all time participant count well beyond 1.5 million.

This data is concerned with manager-team relationships and, taken in isolation, is only of limited use without an indication of the correlation between the customer RBX Index and financial performance. Click HERE to find out how the scores are calculated.

Generally, an RBX Index scored by employees and customers of 75 or above measured at least twice per year will be a good indicator of sustainable financial performance. As you will see below, scores in this range have been pretty rare this year which does not necessarily bode well for the coming months which, given political events, look set to be turbulent enough already.

Analysis by manager gender

Overall RBX Index scores are down from 77 in 2018 to 60 in 2019 to date.

However, male manager RBX Index scores are currently exceeding those of female managers, a turnaround from 2018.

RBX Index 2019 vs 2018 by gender (all scores out of 100)

RiddleBox insight:

2018 saw unusually high RBX Index scores inflated by a couple of specific programs we ran, so 60 is a return to levels seen in prior years.

For the first time in RiddleBox’s history, female manager scores average slightly less than male managers, although it is virtually equal. Whether this is an anomaly or the start of a trend remains to be seen. What we do know is that the road towards greater gender equality in organisations still has a huge distance left to be covered.


Analysis by sector

Recruitment and Hospitality sectors are currently seeing the best quality relationships, Engineering and Land Transport are currently seeing the worst.

Average sector RBX Index scores in 2019

RiddleBox insight:

Whilst most organisations today claim to be ‘‘people focused” this evidence would suggest otherwise. Hospitality companies have always performed strongly on the RBX Index, and another very relationship focused sector, Recruitment, is also doing well.

As per prior years, sectors with more technically focused personnel, or those organisations in the public sector like Healthcare and Transport, perform less well.

Arguably, sectors like Engineering and Telecommunications are experiencing the greatest changes through technology and the need for high quality leadership to attract and retain high quality talent is most important here.


Manager self-awareness

The greater alignment between manager self-scores and team scores, the better the prospects for a productive manager-team relationship. Greater alignment generally reflects greater self-awareness by a manager.

Manager-team alignment score

RiddleBox insight:

Female managers appear significantly more aligned to their teams than male managers so far in 2019.

Alignment is often far more important than the overall RBX Index, as the more “on the same page” managers and teams are, the more effective any improvement or development initiatives are likely to be.

Again, the role reversal from 2018 may be an anomaly or an indication of a wider shift in organisations giving a better balance of freedom, challenge and support to female managers - something which has been severely lacking in years gone by.


Most in-demand relationship attributes

The RBX Index measures 5 core constructs which, when combined in the optimal way, produce highly effective relationships.

“Empathy” continues to receive the weakest scores by participants in the RBX Index data, and is therefore the most in demand construct in relationships in 2019, as it was in 2018.

%age share of weakest RBX Index constructs in 2019

RiddleBox insight:

Empathy has become a buzzword in many aspects of life in 2019, as we have written about before referencing Jacinda Ardern.

In the digital age and in the experience economy, with ever greater social issues around mental health, the ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective is perhaps the key driver of competitive advantage for organisations seeking leaders who can build inclusive cultures, and front-line staff and processes which truly understand customer needs.

When the manager self-score is lower than the team score, we generally see that Managers feel that Trust, rather than Empathy, is lacking.

Generally, the workforce measured by RiddleBox in 2019 so far appear to be willing to give far more of themselves if they are shown greater trust and empathy by their managers.

Do you want to see what you or your manager will score?