The Good Manager
Recent studies have shown that the large majority of job-seekers no longer place long-term employment as the capital criterion when looking at a prospective job. Although no one can deny the importance of financial stability, 21st century employees are actually more concerned with opportunities for learning, for development and growth.
In this context, managers’ responsibilities have also taken a turn towards driving performance and engagement, as well as maximizing retention, minimizing turnover and attracting valuable candidates. What the good manager needs to do in order to attain the above goals is to stimulate learning and development and, broadly speaking, help the team grow.
Building upon employee strengths and interests is a somewhat tough job to do, but here are four principles that can come in handy.
Successful teams know what they are working for. The firm’s direction and strategic plans, challenges and important changes, developments in the industry – they are all information that employees need to know in order not only to feel included and valuable, but also to gain perspective on the influence their work has on the company.
Keeping up with their team’s struggles and accomplishments goes without saying in the good manager’s playbook, but what managers need to do is to upgrade by supporting communication among the entire company. Interaction between different divisions and functions exposes employees to new experiences and opportunities and encourages them to get involved for the greater good of the company.
Mentorship & coaching
Companies are in constant motion and the bigger the company, the more the tasks to be done and the harder to get perspective. Managers are essential when it comes to helping employees organize information and available opportunities and articulate their expectations. Clearly defining the path each employee needs to take in order to develop and grow within the organization is what can make the difference between retention and turnover.
Checking in once a year on employees’ development might put managers in the situation of not having the same employees to actually check in on. Planned frequent short conversations throughout the year touching on career goals and interests keep team members on their growth path and steer away from the feeling of being stuck or underperforming.
Surely, managers might fall in the trap of filling their employees’ time with formal training programs. Although they are useful to some extent, learning by doing is actually more effective when it comes to individual growth. Assigning developmental assignments, giving quick feedback, bringing forward new challenges and mentoring are essential ingredients for the Good Manager.
Some decades ago, the saying that that people join companies but leave managers emerged from a work field that was already beginning to change. In the 21st century, this saying has never been truer.