I read recently the factor with the greatest impact on employee retention is the employee’s relationship with his or her boss. This conclusion is documented in the book, “First, Break All the Rules – What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently.” The authors of this book based their finding on in-depth interviews of over 80,000 managers in over 400 companies. And yes, they concluded, “people leave managers, not companies.”
If this is so obvious, why then do some organizations seem oblivious to the impact their managers might be having on employee retention? Some might argue it’s easier to turn a blind eye. Others might suggest that there are no bad bosses, only employees who are difficult to manage. I’m going to suggest another reason – a lack of management training and possibly awareness.
Here are four signs your managers may be having an adverse impact on your organization’s employee retention rate, along with some ideas for improving their leadership behaviors:
• Managers who fail to interact with their employees.
At the most basic level, your managers should be going out of their way to greet their people at the start and end of each day. When it comes to leadership, these simple acts of courtesy are table stakes.
• Managers who manage work, not people.
Less experienced managers are often overwhlemed by their own tasks as individual contributors, especially those who have a tendency toward micromanaging the work of others. Managers achieve greater gains in employee productivity and morale by investing more time interacting with and otherwise engaging their teams. Encourage your managers to view their work as a team effort.
• Managers who fail to delegate responsibilities.
Managers who mentor their employees to accept more challenging responsibilities almost always find it easier to delegate, mainly because they’ve allowed themselves to trust in the abilities of their employees. Employees, in turn, work harder to maintain that trust and find their work more satisfying.
• Managers who are openly critical of others in the organization.
Conversations about ideas on how to improve the organization and its results are more inspiring to your employees than criticisms of others in the organization. Employees want a work environment they can feel good about. Encourage your managers to set a positive tone and example.