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How to Be a Manager That Others Want to Work With

Being a manager is hard. There are so many people and things vying for your attention and it’s hard to know what to focus on. I read over 75 leadership books and articles and distilled the information down to 7 habit areas to help you be the type of leader that employees want to work for.

The 7 Habits

The manager is key to employee retention as they impact 70% of an employee’s motivation (Gallup) and are the #1 reason why employees leave. Did you know that I have a book coming out – 7 Habits of High Retention Managers? Here is a synopsis of these 7 habits.

1. Ignite purpose

We all want to feel like we are making a difference. A clear company mission unites team members around a shared cause and helps foster a larger emotional investment in their work. Managers can help communicate and inspire employees by helping to bring the mission to life – and by helping them understand how they contribute to the greater purpose of the organization.

2. Build trust

Trust is the foundation of retention and engagement. If you don’t have it, employees aren’t likely to stay and, if lack of trust is an issue across your organization, you aren’t likely to have any kind of sustainable success. Managers can build trust with their team by showing respect; being a person of integrity; demonstrating humility; being vulnerable; and extending trust to employees by giving them the autonomy to do their jobs.


3. Manage yourself

You must be able to manage yourself to manage others effectively. And this starts with being self-aware. Once you are aware of your strengths, weaknesses, and potential sources of bias, you are in a better position to keep your cool and choose a better response when stressful situations occur.

4. Be a good coach

Google’s Project Oxygen found that the best managers were good coaches. They used a broad definition of coaching to include feedback, listening, guiding people toward solutions, and fostering growth. Recent research indicates that people in today’s workforce don’t want managers, they want coaches. This is particularly true amongst the younger generations that now make up 50% of the workforce.


5. Practice accountability.

Where there is a lack of accountability, there is a lack of performance, and it will have an impact on engagement and retention. High performers don’t like it and will likely be the first to jump ship. High-retention managers hold themselves and others accountable for results using the 5 C’s of Accountability:

1.       Clarity of expectations

2.       Courage to have difficult interactions

3.       Collaboration in goal-setting and problem-solving

4.       Consistency in holding employees to expectations – and in being fair and consistent

5.       Correction including counseling, discipline or termination when warranted

6. Communicate well

The Center for Creative Leadership encourages managers to communicate relentlessly. This involves clear, concise, open, and honest communication using different mediums – and typically involves overcommunicating because people need to hear things a lot before it sticks! Most importantly, this includes listening actively.


7. Show you care

Show employees that you care about their well-being (career, physical, mental, social, and financial). Helpful strategies to cultivate include caring interactions; showing empathy; providing flexibility; and showing appreciation.

My book will be released in late March/early April. I am introducing a 7 Habits Book Study Program that will last 5 weeks and have two time options. Visit the link to learn more and sign up.


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