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Exit interviews often fail to highlight the one true reason why people leave jobs – no, it is not for a “better job offer” or “an office closer to home” as many outgoing employees say, but the real reason goes deeper than that.
Each of the reasons thrown up in exit interviews can be linked, directly or indirectly, to the employee’s boss. Having a good boss solves more than half of an employee’s dilemma, be it through access to more learning opportunities, working on a flexible schedule, or an expansion on job responsibilities.
No wonder 70% of Singaporean employees polled in a recent study by JobStreet said they are prepared to quit their jobs if they cannot get along with their manager.
“Emotional”, “micromanaging” and “calculative” were some of the choicest words respondents used to describe bad bosses, with about two-thirds of them admitting that a better boss would make them happier at work.
So, how you be a better version of yourself? You may already be doing a number of things right, but I am sharing with you the ones I believe are most important.
First and most critical is to recognise not just your team’s good work, but their every effort at improvement. Engaged employees try to better their performance every day, and their efforts at self-learning can motivate them to no end when they know they are being noticed.
This also ensures that you as their manager continue to provide them meaningful work, that not only helps them get better at what they are good at, but also stretches them a little bit closer to the next job level.
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The second item in my list is to spend one-on-one time with employees regularly, perhaps through a monthly informal catchup.
Given the nature of today’s always-on communication, messages can be short, brief and sometimes misinterpreted. Alone time with each of your team members breaks that daily clutter to inspire an honest conversation about how both of you are doing.
It helps reinforce the expectations you have from each other, and is so much “nicer” than a yearly performance review. Moreover, this catchup can show your team just how much you care about their growth and development.
Finally, remember to provide your team actionable feedback, that is, inputs they can run with and implement in their daily working styles to get better at what they do.
Your suggestions may not always work for them, but they’ll never know unless you share practical examples with them. Remember, feedback is the most powerful force driving performance.
What is your advice for being a better manager? Share your three top tips with us in the comments section below.