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Mar 21, 2016  |  People don’t leave companies, they leave managers. We’ve all heard it before, but we don’t think business leaders really believe it.

According to a recent Gallup study, 50% of employees leave jobs “to get away from their manager.” Ouch.

If you want engaged employees and a successful business, your managers can be your secret weapon. And since companies struggle to believe or implement all the literature out there of how to approach it – we’ll try something a little different. Something more reflective.


What NOT-TO-DO when it comes to your managers:


1) Don’t invent bad managers

Too often, we make our best employees our worst managers. For some reason, management becomes an employee’s definition of progression in a company and we promote these employees as a result of their success. And with minimal training or tools, they fail.

Don’t promote employees to manager until they’re ready. Have them lead committees or large projects and get feedback from people they work with. Then use data to make decisions. 


2) Don’t enable bad management

Your company processes create bad management, especially with poor tools, procedures, and poor information. There’s a reason why every article about traditional performance management, for example, is being slated as dead – processes such as these are too infrequent and out of date.

Update your processes.

  • Annual engagement data is outdated when your managers get a hold of it.  Use more real-time engagement ‘pulses’ when measuring engagement. It’s easier to deal with smoke before fire.
  • Institute mandatory 1:1s for managers to their employees – Gallup also found that workers whose managers hold regular meetings are three times more likely to be engaged (feel involved in and enthusiastic about their jobs).
  • Don’t reward annually – ensure recognition is part of the daily fabric of your company. Enabling recognition daily with managers will have a large impact on engagement. Recognition has the biggest impact on engagement, after all.


3) Don’t forget them

If you want managers to have a positive impact, they must be part of the strategic narrative of your company’s objectives and mission.

After all, they are the bridge between senior leadership that doesn’t see what happens on a daily basis and the employees that do all the work and interact with your customers.  If managers do not understand strategic goals and what success look like, they’ll be unaware and disengaged.

And when employees ask them questions, they look like idiots.  Employees likely leave idiots even more than managers.

Each year and quarter, involve all managers in your planning processes, give them a voice to help create them, and make them a part of understanding why some are prioritized higher than others.  It needs to be every leader’s objective to succeed at the company’s goals – and you need managers to build that alignment with employees.


Lastly, don’t forget managers are employees too.

They need to be engaged and they’re not! Only 35% of managers are engaged at work and traditionally forgotten in the process or think they should have the answers.

We set them up for failure and then are surprised why they don’t succeed.


Any stories of what you CAN do to up your manager’s game? Please share. Or have any horror stories? Those are always entertaining so please share those too 🙂

As posted by WorkTango on