Be the Manager You Want to Work for

“If you understand what motivates people, you can help them have a sense of pride in their work.” Katheryn Baker, a VP of a tech company, told me that recently in a podcast interview.  She also said that, as a manager, it’s important to recognize that people have different scenarios in their lives at different times. It caused me to acknowledge how important the manager is in retaining employees.

Surveys repeatedly show that one of the top reasons employees leave is because of their manager. They often say their manager doesn’t care about them or they don’t think their manager is any good at managing. Whether or not that’s true doesn’t matter as much as how the employee perceives the situation. To retain employees, managers today, more than ever, need to connect with each individual employee to understand what motivates them.

In a war for talent, building a reputation as a manager people want to work for is a competitive advantage. A great manager is a magnet for top quality talent.

The challenge is it is hard to take time out to reflect on how to be a good manager, to ask each team member what they want from you, and then do it. There are so many pressures to deliver business results quickly. But you will likely find a small investment of your manager time will pay off in much larger dividends of greater team productivity and lower turnover of employees.

Think, for example, about how much of your time it takes to recruit, interview, and onboard new employees.  You could spend a fraction of that time managing the ones you have to get better results.

Here are some questions to get you started down the path of being the manager people want to work for.

  • What do you look for in a manager? Someone you can learn from, who will give you growth opportunities, who will back you even when you make a mistake?  Someone who gives you flexibility to take time off when you want it, who supports work-life balance?  Someone who has a vision, inspires you to do your best work, and gets you the resources you need to succeed?
  • Are the qualities you value in a manager the qualities you deliver to your team?
  • Have you asked your team members what they value in a manager?

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