Editor’s Note

I was recently on a rather mundane conference call when one of the participants began describing a new book called It’s the Manager by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter. He raved about it so much that I decided to take a look. In the book, the authors provide the results of a poll by Gallup, which reveal there is a staggering 70 percent variation between great workplace engagement and lousy workplace engagement, which can be explained just by the quality of the manager. One of the authors, Jim Clifton, cautions, “This is a serious problem for the whole world. Globally, only 15 percent of employees are engaged at work. This means that 85 percent of employees either aren’t engaged, or worse, they are actively disengaged—ruining workplaces, societies, and general world productivity.…Leaders everywhere in the world have a tendency to name the wrong person manager and then train them on administrative things—not how to maximize human potential.” However, the authors remain optimistic that the problem can be fixed by great front-line managers, who are the ones most responsible for engaging teams and the people who manage the managers.

This quarter’s issue focuses on employee engagement, the importance of good managers, and the evolving workplace. In the article on the High Performance Court Framework, the authors remind us that “a chief administrative judge and clerk/court administrator must find ways to enlist the support of judges and key staff to increase the effectiveness of their managerial influence and keep a court on the desired and agreed-upon improvement track.”

In her column for Early Career Professionals, Angie VanShoick offers a fresh approach to work-life balance and a quiz to identify if you are headed for an energy crisis. The authors of It’s the Manager posit that for millennials, their work really is their life and their identity. The workplace is their society, and in many cases it has become their family and community. What does that mean for court managers? According to Clifton and Harter, the new workforce—especially younger generations—want their work to have deep mission and purpose, and they don’t want old-style command-and-control bosses. They want coaches who inspire them, communicate with them frequently, and develop their strengths. Clifton suggests, “Change your management and leadership culture from being bosses to being coaches.”

As court managers we must also concern ourselves with the ever-changing world in which we work and the impact it has on the need for staffed positions. In Marcus Reinkensmeyer and Ray Billotte’s article about artificial intelligence (AI), they showcase court AI projects and discuss the policy considerations and ethical issues that are related to implementing this technology in courts. What does AI mean for the traditional processing of cases in the court and the staff that currently performs these tasks? How do court leaders ensure the appropriate use of AI in our justice environment and balance the substantive impacts to our organizations?

I hope you enjoy this issue and as you go about your workday, consider how you can engage your employees, especially if you manage managers. According to Clifton and Harter, “When you have great managers who can maximize the potential of every team member, you have delivered on the new global will: a great job and a great life. That is the future of work.”