5 March 2024

Bosses often to blame as workers head for the door

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Research has found more than a third of employees don’t like their supervisor’s management style. Photo: File.

While high employee turnover has been a persistent issue in the wake of the pandemic, Dan Schawbel says the traditional reasons for quitting may not always apply in the modern workplace environment.

As we move further into 2024, many organisations will be keeping an eye on employee turnover, one of the key measures is how well it is supporting its workforce.

Managing turnover involves addressing the root causes, implementing retention strategies, and fostering a positive work environment to encourage employee loyalty and longevity.

Organisations grappling with unusually high quit rates might assume that issues around salary, burnout, or a lack of career advancement opportunities are to blame.

It makes sense, given these topics have been heavily covered in news outlets and on social media — and, of course, these issues can absolutely play a part in ushering workers out the door.

However, the real cause might not be burnout or a desire to see if the grass is really greener on the other side. Some employees are likely leaving for another reason: a poor experience or relationship with their manager.

New research has revealed that more than a third of employees don’t like their supervisor’s management style. Another study found that 57 per cent of people have quit because of their boss, and another 37 per cent have considered doing so.

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Many managers could be struggling to provide support for their team members because they themselves are overworked.

Their own fatigue might be impairing their job effectiveness, which in turn could affect team performance and the achievement of organisational goals.

What’s more, overworked managers may themselves become part of the turnover problem, seeking opportunities elsewhere, leading to turnover at the leadership level.

What follows are the top 10 traits that distinguish effective managers and contribute to their ability to lead teams toward success.

All of these capabilities can be developed through manager training programs and by providing the right support systems (such as mentors or peer support).

Leadership: This is the cornerstone of effective management. Successful managers inspire and motivate their teams by setting a compelling vision, fostering a positive work culture, and leading by example.

A strong leader guides the team through challenges, instilling confidence and a sense of purpose.

Communication skills: Another linchpin in the manager’s toolkit. Effective managers articulate ideas clearly, actively listen to their team members, and ensure that information flows seamlessly.

Open communication builds trust, enhances collaboration, and ensures that everyone is aligned with organisational goals.

Adaptability: In an ever-changing business landscape, adaptability is crucial.

Effective managers remain flexible in the face of uncertainty, adjusting strategies to meet evolving circumstances. They embrace change as an opportunity for growth and lead their teams through transitions with resilience.

Decision-making: An indispensable trait for effective managers. They make well-informed choices based on available information, considering the potential impact on the team and the organisation.

Decisive managers take responsibility for their decisions and learn from both successes and failures.

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Problem-solving: Effective managers possess strong problem-solving skills. They analyse challenges objectively, encourage creative thinking within the team, and address issues promptly and effectively.

A manager’s ability to navigate and resolve problems contributes significantly to the team’s overall success.

Empathy: Understanding and empathising with team members is a trait that builds strong relationships.

Effective managers actively engage with their team on a personal level, providing support during challenges and celebrating successes together. Empathy fosters a positive work culture and enhances team cohesion.

Delegation: This skill distinguishes effective managers from micromanagers. Successful managers trust the capabilities of their team members and delegate tasks and responsibilities accordingly.

This empowers individuals, fosters a sense of ownership, and allows the manager to focus on strategic aspects of leadership.

Strategic thinking: Effective managers think strategically, aligning team goals with the broader objectives of the organisation.

They plan for the future, anticipate challenges, and identify opportunities for growth and improvement. Strategic thinking ensures the team’s efforts contribute meaningfully to the organisation’s success.

Motivation: This is the driving force behind a high-performing team. Effective managers inspire enthusiasm and a sense of purpose within the team.

Recognising and rewarding achievements boosts morale and creates a positive and dynamic work environment, fostering sustained motivation.

Time Management: Practical time management is a skill that ensures efficiency. Effective managers prioritise tasks, manage time effectively, and avoid micromanaging.

Well-managed schedules allow managers to focus on high-impact activities, contributing to meeting deadlines and achieving organisational goals.

Continuous refinement and development of all these traits are essential for managers on their journey of growth and improvement.

As the business landscape evolves, the role of an effective manager remains instrumental in steering teams toward success and organisational excellence.

Dan Schawbel is a bestselling author and managing partner of Workplace Intelligence, a research and advisory firm helping HR adapt to trends, drive performance and prepare for the future.

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