A strong manager can inspire loyalty and guide their team toward reaching their goals, helping the company reach new heights. Conversely, a manager who is ineffective or difficult to deal with can drive away talented employees, leading to high turnover rates and the subsequent loss of time and capital.
That’s why it’s crucial for managers of all levels to focus not only on team deliverables and outcomes, but also on their own leadership skills as well. Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council shared their best strategies for business leaders looking to help their managers succeed and retain more employees.
1. Build ‘Soft Skills’
Take the time to train your managers in important “soft skills” such as communication and conflict resolution. Especially if you are promoting your best workers to manager positions, understand that the skills your A-employees possess don’t necessarily translate to management. It may take some time for your employees to learn how to be inspirational managers. The more involved you are in their training, the better. Try role-playing with them. You could even ask other employees for ideas of scenarios to run through with a new manager. You may end up unintentionally stumbling upon some actual conflict that you can then help your new manager navigate. – Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP
2. Conduct Personality Assessments
We required that all existing (and now new) employees take an Enneagram test. The Enneagram is basically a personality test. It also explains how the employee will interact with their team members and managers. Further, the Enneagram shows all participants the best way and the worst way to communicate with each other. Since we have begun to administer the Enneagram tests, our attrition rate has gone to almost zero. Further, employee and management morale has never been higher. The old adage “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” is the key to workplace communication. Our CEO also has a saying: “Be more kind than you need to be.” If management follows that motto and knows how to communicate with their employees, they can’t lose! – Bill Mulholland, ARC Relocation
3. Establish A 360 Feedback Loop
Employees can review their managers confidentially in the form of a survey to voice any red flags that leaders can then investigate. Confidential feedback and feedback loops are essential to the operation of any business. We all need feedback—positive and negative. No one is perfect and we can all get better together. When you start to systematize feedback, and it is not so “scary” like a review or something tied to compensation, it can be something that propels your business and your teams forward. Consider feedback loops for far more than making sure your management is not abusing power; consider it a really constructive tool to grow your business and support your culture. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
4. Eliminate Any Micromanaging
Perhaps the most widely-cited reason employees grow weary of managers is that they feel as though they’re being micromanaged day in and day out. When it comes down to it, grown adults hate being treated like children who can’t do their jobs without constant supervision and meddling. Micromanaging breeds resentment and a feeling of being untrusted and disrespected, which never leads to positive outcomes. At best, the employee will stick around and be disgruntled. At worst, they’ll move to a competitor and vow to help them outshine their former employer because of the treatment they dealt with there. – Richard Fong, SeniorStrong.org
5. Refine Your Hiring Process
Prune and refine the hiring process, especially for the HR team, to reflect the business’s values. The heart of a business stems from the people who are making the hiring decisions, so it makes sense that this trickles down to who’s hired to be a manager. If your HR team is reflecting and embodying the ethos of your business and your ideal hires, then their hiring decisions will hopefully yield managers who aren’t driving away employees. Saying this, if your company doesn’t place high value on policies that positively impact the business, employees and company culture, then it begs the question—is it the managers who are driving employees away or is it indeed the business? – Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.
6. Set Up EQ And Communication Skills Training
Getting feedback from employees is important, but how one delivers that feedback makes all the difference. Many managers never learned how to be managers, so coaching them is invaluable. I highly recommend getting 360 reviews on all managers and also getting them both emotional intelligence (EQ) and communication training. Although someone may have a high IQ and be a productive worker, they may have low EQ and not understand how they are making others feel. Just because a manager has a good message for someone doesn’t always mean they will be receptive to the feedback. People get defensive, they deflect and they blame others. Getting them to understand that the manager is there to help and that they want to support them, elevate them and assist them in their growth will enable them to put their guard down. – Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc
7. Build A Culture Of Respect
Building a respectful culture is a foundational activity that will drive how everyone in your business behaves. For starters, as a leader, you need to exemplify positive leadership. Make a statement in your company handbook that you value friendly, cooperative and respectful interactions. Then, create open communication that’s visible to everyone in the company. Using a chat messaging platform rather than an email makes it easier to communicate directly with others. It also becomes easier to show everyone in your company, including managers, how you want to direct and lead others. When you build a positive culture and set a good example, your managers will follow—and this leads to happier employees. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
8. Lead By Example And Share The Burden
If you value your manager but they are acting out due to stress or they can’t handle all the load individually, step in and help. Showcase the best way to manage people based on the company culture. Demonstrate empathy, active listening and encouragement. Sometimes managers get too busy putting out fires on a regular basis and don’t engage proactively with their teams. Share their burden and help them nurture their team as best as possible. Offloading a portion of their responsibilities while providing clues and techniques is an invaluable exercise that builds trust between you, the manager and your team. You are all in this together, and being involved in the collaboration is a paramount investment in retaining talent. – Mario Peshev, DevriX