How to be a Better Manager (so your people don’t leave)
Being a Better Manager Shows Up, or Not!
I interview people all day, and more often than not, I’ll end up hearing (or getting some hints) about the real reasons they’re looking to leave their job. We’ve all heard that saying, “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” It’s true. And, I’ll share with you some of the things that your team won’t tell you— because hey, who wants to tick off their boss by criticizing them?
You don’t give feedback or you’re not good at it.
Do you go to work thinking, “I can’t wait to get in there and really mess things up?” Of course not! Well, neither do your team members. If one of them isn’t performing optimally, ask yourself what you can do to help. Then, go to that team member with a solution or a suggestion. Or, just show that you care about them and their work and ask what you can do to help. Remember this advice when you have a well-performing team member who suddenly isn’t performing as well as they have in the past. If they’re slipping, I’d bet there’s a reason behind it.
If the only time you’re giving your team feedback is when they’re messing up, that’s your fault. You don’t wait for people to mess up and then pounce. You look for gaps in your training and have conversations that go both ways. And, walk the talk there– when you say you’re open to feedback, be open to what they have to say. Don’t use it against them later.
You don’t accept feedback or listen to your team’s ideas.
Your team is closer to the actual work than you are, most likely. This means that they might see some things that you missed. If they’re coming up with ideas, they’re engaged in their work. Isn’t that a good thing? Being a manager who listens to his/her team will make you come across as insightful, instead of being so hard-nosed. Believe me, someone else will grab up your idea-generators and use those ideas.
You play favorites.
It’s human nature. You’re going to just like some people more than others. You’re going to click with some people more than others. Maybe one of the people on your team reminds you of yourself when you were starting out and another of them you just don’t “get.” You’re managing a team. It doesn’t matter what your personal feelings are. Your job is to set your entire team up for success, not punish one because they just aren’t enough of the type of person you like. And, watch yourself here— you could be setting yourself up for a discrimination or harassment suit. A better tactic is to put your personal feelings aside and get to know your team. A diverse team that feels cohesive is going to be a high-performing team. Don’t be short-sighted. An open mind will end up granting you a much stronger team– and more loyal team members.
You aren’t consistent.
If Jim and Sam make the same mistake and Jim’s feet are held to the fire, while Sam doesn’t even hear about it, you aren’t being consistent. This means the rules have to be the same for everyone. Your support needs to be the same for everyone, too. I’ve seen instances where one person was really well-trained and another was left to flounder. Inconsistency in your actions can come back to bite you. Just make sure that, even if someone you like is breaking a rule, you still have a talk with them and treat them as you would any other team member.
You talk down to people.
No one likes to be talked to like they’re a child. Heck, even children don’t like it. If this is the case, why would a professional person (who you yourself may have even hired) who is performing a skilled job tolerate that? There are going to be times for performance-based discussions, naturally. But, it should be a 2-way street with open communication. This means that you give feedback and you listen. Yes, you be quiet and let your team member tell you what is going on from their perspective. Together, you can come up with solutions.
You gossip about your team.
This is among the worst things that you can do. If you’re doing this, I will go out on a limb and say that you simply aren’t mature enough for a management position. Rest assured that the gossip will spread and if you are found out, you’re in deep…. water. Just don’t do it. Ever.
One of the biggest sins I’ve heard about is a person being moved into a managerial position with no management training at all. This leaves that person to manage by instinct. But, who says this person’s instincts are good? It’s a strong bet that they’re not. Human nature is reactive and defensive– both aren’t good traits in a manager. If you find yourself doing these things, first, STOP IT. Second, seek out management training. There are always better ways of handling a team. Think back to your own work experience. Haven’t you worked harder (with fewer complaints) for a manager who worked at gaining your loyalty and supported you?
I hope this helps you do an examination of conscience, so to speak, and recognize your own areas for improvement (we all have them). But, most importantly, you don’t want to have high turnover on your team– I don’t need to tell you how much that’s costing you in both reputation and revenue.