One of the biggest losses for a company is when top talent leaves because of a bad manager. My company surveyed more than 1,100 professionals and found 87% of respondents said they have had a bad boss. Of those, 51% said they have quit a company because of a bad boss, but 83% would have stayed if given the opportunity to make an internal move to report to someone else.
My mantra: Managers direct, but people managers develop. People management is about training and motivating staff to reach their full potential. Anybody can give directives and assign tasks, but inspiring people to give their best and building culture requires great people managers.
Here are some thoughts to consider.
Building people managers. The No. 1 mistake upper management makes is thinking a great producer will be a great manager. They may have had impressive accomplishments, but the key is, can they help others grow their skill sets? Can they engage their staff? The hours and dollars spent fighting for a key player to join the team may all go to waste if companies don’t focus on management training.
Invest. Regardless of the length of tenure, continue building their management and leadership skills. Send them to conferences, and encourage them to watch webinars and attend seminars. These opportunities need to be available, and employees need to know they are available. Ask managers to identify their areas of weakness and find classes to strengthen those.
Teach empathy. Managers sometimes need a reminder to have empathy — for their staff, their peers and their clients. It’s easy to fall into the trap of only seeing goals, wins, numbers, etc., but empathy is what develops a passionate, committed team and helps close business. It’s what brings a team into the office on a Saturday to help a colleague on a goal that doesn’t directly impact “their” goals.
Assemble a peer group. When looking for a mentor, people often look outside the company, assuming all internal managers have the same management style … wrong. While core business functions may be similar, many managers have a different way of developing their teams. Organize a peer mentorship program and pair managers to meet weekly or monthly. Managers can be great resources for one another. For instance, one manager’s strength may be hold people accountable, while keeping morale high, and another manager may be giving weekly quizzes that are making the team more knowledgeable.
Educate. Seventy-two percent of employees identified training as important to job satisfaction.
Too often, new hires are left to figure it out themselves, a common case with bad managers. How quickly are new members of their team getting up to speed? What are strong managers doing to onboard and develop their staff from day one? Great managers invest in employees before they contribute and are good at on-the-job coaching.
Great managers also equip their staff with external resources so learning happens beyond the office doors.
Empower. Ninety-three percent of employees rate autonomy and independence as important to job satisfaction.
Are staff given the independence to start their own initiatives and suggest ideas? Managers have to help employees build confidence and not feel suffocated by micromanagement.
Empathize. Relationships with coworkers are important to job satisfaction, according to 73% of employees. People have lives outside the office doors. Bad managers ignore that.
Building relationships and encouraging friendships among staff is essential, and friendships in the workplace are proven to significantly increase employee engagement and retention.
Celebrate wins. Everyone likes to win, and recognition for people who earn it goes a long way in boosting confidence. It motivates them to do even better.