The real essence of a great leader is the impact that person has on the thinking and behaviors of others. What if the thinking and behaviors of others are so distressed that your company’s attrition rate is through the roof? That’s when managers need to take a look at how they are leading and managing. Are they a micro-manager? Do they use the ‘because I said so’ approach to manage and give direction? Managing in these ways has a significant impact on employee retention. A recent study by Randstad US shows 60 percent of respondents say they have left a job or would leave over a bad boss. OC Tanner research found that 79 percent of employees who quit their jobs claim that a lack of appreciation was a major reason for leaving.
Managers that use the ‘because I said so’ or ‘because I’m the manager’ approach to make decisions and give direction are generally doing so to make themselves needed, prove they are in control, and hide their lack of self-confidence as a manager. Often these decisions are made solely for the manager’s best interest with no thought to the impact to the employees or the organization. People want to be heard and respected. When managers answer with ‘because I said so’ or ‘its within my purview’, employees will never trust your judgement or decision again. Managers are simply training people to be, complacent, non-productive, and eventually training them to leave.
How about the old micro-managing approach? You know when you are given a task you’ve done successfully a million times and your manager watches your every move? They demand progress reports and updates. And if you do make a mistake, you are likely chastised because your manager could have done it better – with no experience, but they know best. When a manager micro manages every detail of a project or a task, the employee becomes frustrated, may feel incompetent, and show resentment or become defensive. Micro-managing annihilates any appreciation. And, employees want to be recognized and appreciated for their knowledge and skills. In fact, a recent study at oGo Lead noted that 82 percent of employees feel their supervisor doesn’t recognize them for what they do. Micro-managing also distracts managers from focusing on the big picture strategy and the accountable becomes solely the managers. And in a productive, functional team, accountability resides with the team.
So how do managers avoid being the ‘because I said so’ or micro-manager? Trust. Trust the team to do their job, trust they will be self-accountable, trust they have the organization’s best interest in mind, trust they want you to succeed. To build trust, a manager must empower its employees to make decisions and complete tasks their way. Managers must smile genuinely when talking with their employees. And most important, managers must acknowledge and appreciate employee contributions, knowledge and skills.