For example, research has shown that 43% of workers have left a job at some point in their career because of their manager. And more than half of workers (53%) who are currently considering leaving their jobs said they were looking to change roles because of their manager.
So, what does a leader that employees want to work for actually look like? Consider:
- A blend of business-savvy and people strategist – when you have a truly effective manager, they integrate the needs of the organization with the needs of the workforce. This means aligning individual developmental goals with the bottom line.
- Knowing how to make each position meaningful to the individual doing it and to the success of the organization:
- For the individual, this means they have the opportunity to be engaged, to understand why what they are doing matters, to feel supported and competent in what they need to do, and to be able to take reasonable risks without fear of retaliation.
- For the organization, this means creating a learning culture where people can continuously learn, grow, and create, with this culture tied directly to the goals and values of the company.
- Not being afraid of change, but also not changing for change’s sake. Making space for trial and error as a leader can allow your team to be innovative, and will pave a path that allows both your employees and your business to develop and evolve.
- Having the ability to see and communicate your vision of the ‘bigger picture’, and then being able to connect what your employees are doing to this picture.
- Authentic and honest – an effective leader isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with their team, and this perpetuates a culture of openness in which your employees are more likely to reciprocate honesty, loyalty, and respect.
- Approachable – approachability is always important when in a leadership role, but it is also crucial that you find the ideal balance. You don’t have to be ‘best friends’ with all your staff members, as you still have to make the hard decisions at the end of the day, but it is important to be personable.
- Show that you care about your team as much as you care about the success of the business – this can be demonstrated every day through small activities (water-cooler conversations, casual feedback, socializing with staff). A single grand gesture on an annual basis can seem tokenistic and make the workforce feel disconnected from you – people should want to interact with you on a daily basis and feel that they can.
- Remain humble – it is important to know when to take and when to give credit. Recognition is key for retention, with one report finding that employees were 56% less likely to be looking for a new job if they felt they were being properly recognized for their contributions.
There is no such thing as ‘perfect’, as perfect can look different to everyone. When it comes to being the best leader you can be, however, there are proven power skills, hard skills and characteristics that can help you become a leader your team will want to stay with.