Can you teach an old dog new tricks? 5 questions you should ask yourself about your manager…

Having recently interviewed some of the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For, I am increasingly fascinated as to the reasons why some companies become magnets for great talent while others just cannot retain their staff…

The most energized workforces are inspired by managers who are positive role models. They walk the walk and talk the talk and they lead by example rather than by precept. Whilst, I know there are many incredible managers out there, they can be as rare as hens’ teeth in some firms as people management does not come as part of all leadership training packages and there are still some managers out there who simply rise to the top because of their staying power and endurance rather than their leadership flair and charisma. And when they do eventually rise to the top these individuals can often just mimic the behaviours of the bosses who have gone before. They may never have had the confidence to challenge the poor behaviour of those above them who have yelled, broken their promises and motivated with a stick rather than a carrot and, because they have never tried anything new, they repeat the same negative behaviour pattern and staff continue to leave in their droves…

If you have a manager and you are reading this, why not ask yourself one question, ‘Do you think that they ever consider that high staff turnover might be down to their personal shortcomings rather than the poor quality of their workforce?’

In honest exit interviews, the main reason for leaving a job is this poor manager/employee relationship where people feel that they are invisible, unimportant and lack intrinsic value. Chances are that poor managers could change if they wanted to, so perhaps they should accept that their management style needs a makeover, and maybe try to learn some new tricks?

When you think about your manager, how would you answer the following 5 questions…?

Do they really care about you?

Do they ever stop to say good morning and how are you? Do they know anything at all about your personal life? Do you they know about your last holiday, or what you did last weekend or how many children you have? Or do they just keep their heads buried in their computers when people walk in just to prove how hardworking they are?

Do they give you too much to do?

In other words, do they ever stop to consider work-life balance for themselves and for you? Or do they merely hand out more and more work with without really understanding what you already have on your plate? And does this work have increasingly tight deadlines as they just expect you to stay on after dark?

Do they say thank you?

Do they ever take time out of their ever so busy day to stop and thank you, shake hands or pat you on the back for a job well done? I’m sure you are self-motivated and they don’t need any grand gestures, but small gestures of gratitude boost morale and are likely to inspire you to do more because you then know that your efforts are valued and not just taken for granted.

Do they proactively encourage training and development?

Do they ensure that you are developing your skill set or do they fall into the trap of giving you more of the same so that you end up with two years of mundane drudgery? Don’t they realise that you will soon be bored and become complacent and that dull state of mind makes you feel suffocated, exhausted and unfulfilled? Everyone wants to contribute to the success of the firm – a manager’s job is to find ways of harnessing creative flair and allowing their people to experiment.

Do they keep their promises?

And finally-and perhaps most importantly-do they keep their word? When they promise something, do they deliver or do those promises get sidelined and forgotten about? Trust is a great virtue and those who betray it sink like the proverbial stone.

If you answered no to any of these questions, perhaps you should share this article or maybe even discuss it at your next team meeting!