This week Engage for Success launched as a movement to bring the issue of employee engagement to the fore in UK organisations.

Of all the talk about the importance of leadership, communication and listening, the one thing which stuck out for me was the critical role of the manager as the people who unlock performance in our organisations.

They are the coaches, the day-to-day leaders and the people who, in nearly every organisation, matter most to the employees out on the line.

Yet somehow I think we seem to have lost sight of this.

In many organisations you’ll find that the support functions we work in – and I am not just talking about HR here – serve the needs of the leadership team before any other. On any new strategic or tactical whim they say jump and we say how high.

People talk a good talk about importance of customers and the people who serve them on the front line, but we forget about doing a great job in supporting our managers, the people who we have to trust to make that happen.

This is a mistake.

At a time when we are looking to get more from our people we need to be making sure we are supporting our managers in the right way to deliver great performance.

For many of us that will involve a change of mind set.

Of course we need to deliver on strategy and what the leadership in organisations need but we need to be talking to managers about how we can help them do that. We then need to ensure that they have the tools to manage, reward and improve our people.

No-one should kid themselves amid the talk of flat organisations, disappearing hierarchies and customer-centric businesses that they can get away without thinking about the role of the manager. They are critical to business success. If we remember to support and engage with them, performance will follow.

 Andy Philpott is sales and marketing director at Edenred