Book summary and review: 12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter

by Scott Crabtree

12: The Elements of Great Managing
introduces the Q12, a set of twelve questions that Gallup uses to measure employee engagement. Gallup’s extensive data suggests these 12 questions are key to measuring the things that make a performance difference.  These questions (actually statements that people are asked to agree with, or not, on a 5 point scale, and copyright held by Gallup) are:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment necessary to do my job.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the past six months, someone has talked to me about my progress.
  12. In the last year, I’ve had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

These are powerful statements.

At the heart of the book is a chapter for each statement in this set. The chapters are usually filled with stories, which make for entertaining and memorable reading. They also make for somewhat messy chapters that don’t always stay focused on the issue the statement is measuring.

Still, this book is very much worth reading. Gallup is a major force in surveying employees, among other people. The wisdom they have gleaned from that mountain of data is wisdom any leader should learn.

Whether or not you read the book, these statements indicate things we all can do better to engage our people at work.

I am curious: Which of the Q12 is most important to you? Does your manager know that? If you lead others, do you know what is most important to their engagement? If not, ask them!

As always I appreciate hearing what you think.