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How to become the manager people will not want to leave

Posted by Neha De

December 9, 2021    |     3-minute read (562 words)

We have all heard the adage: “People leave managers, not companies.” Whether it is offering constant criticism, making comments, routinely belittling ideas or even talking in an aggressive manner, a bad manager can make work life miserable. They may even compel good employees to quit their jobs even when they like the company. And when star performers leave, morale suffers, productivity drops and those left behind struggle with increased workloads.

To back up this notion, Gallup’s “The State of the American Manager” study from 2015 found that 50% of Americans have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career.” In addition, only 30% of workers are engaged at work, and managers are responsible for the low engagement. This may be because only 35% of managers are themselves engaged at work.

Managers can have serious control over their workers’ performance. Andy Grove, the former co-founder and CEO of Intel, wrote in his book High Output Management, “As a middle manager, you are in effect a chief executive of an organization yourself… As a micro CEO, you can improve your own and your group’s performance and productivity, whether or not the rest of the company follows suit.” 

So, what steps can you take as a manager to make sure your employees never leave? 

Check out these five tips you can do to become a better manager.

Become engaged and work your way down. According to the Gallup study, a manager contributes to 70% of an employee’s variance in their engagement. Therefore, increase engagement in your team by being engaged yourself. Company culture starts at the top. A positive culture can boost employee morale by making the work life pleasurable, which leads to higher productivity and lower employee attrition. 

Practice empathy. An empathetic leader is more likely to have highly engaged teams as they are willing to get to know their team members beyond work. According to research by Catalyst, “Empathy is an important driver of employee outcomes such as innovation, engagement and inclusion... Employees now are looking for managers, leaders, and companies who will not just acknowledge these hardships but put them front and center in a strategy to lead ethically, responsibly and equitably.” Empathetic leadership requires business leaders to be able to understand the needs of their employees and be aware of their thoughts and feelings.

Practice what you preach. The easiest thing to do is give out orders, but if you want your employees to work hard, you need to do the same. Lead by example. For instance, if you don’t want your team members to make personal calls at work or going out for long lunches, don’t do it yourself. 

Leverage the strengths of all workers. Focus on your team’s strengths and look for ways to tap into them on a daily basis in order to further develop them. “Employees who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged at work,” suggests the Gallup study. 

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Everyone looks forward to direction, consistency and honest feedback. If you promise something to your team, keep your word and follow through. It’s crucial for your workers to know you will always be up front with them and don’t have to second guess your motivations and intentions.

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