Harsh truth: More often than not, people leave their bosses, not their company.
I was one of these. I loved my job. I was great at my job. But I had no real rapport with my manager – his choice, not mine. He let me do what I wanted – I appreciated that – but we never spoke about my performance or my future; he had no interest in what inspired, encouraged or engaged me. He thought my job was to show up and do my job. Period. He thought his job was to make sure I did my job. And since I was good at what I did and loved doing it, I was easy for him to manage me. He didn’t need to worry about me. So we had no meaningful contact. No feedback. No applause. No coaching. I felt unappreciated, disconnected and unimportant. So I left.
Today, in my work as a coach and consultant, my conclusion is the best workplace performance (in today’s workplace) happens when employees are:
- Good at what the job needs them to do (intrinsically talented).
- Interested in the job (they like doing what the job requires), AND…
- Feel connected to their manager and team as people.
Though much of what I speak and write about are the first two – talents and passions – the third is the linchpin when it comes to employee loyalty. If you are good at your job and love doing it but have no meaningful contact with your manager, it will be a matter of time before you decide to leave; this personal connection is critical in today’s “relationship” workplace.
Here is the value of a strong employee/boss relationship:
- It encourages open and honest performance dialog – feedback.
- It encourages easy communication about who employees are as people – their talents, values and interests – to encourage bosses to know how to customize jobs, properly reward employees, motivate and coach.
- It creates the rapport necessary to have a development or career discussion. No employee will talk to their bosses about the future if they do not have a meaningful rapport; and no employee will be loyal if they don’t have a discussion about the future and their role in it.
Many managers underestimate the need for a solid supportive, teaching and coaching relationship with their employees. Management’s role is not to catch employees goofing off. Instead, management must be constantly watching and interacting with their employees to applaud great work or coach improvements. That means they need to care about employees, be present and stay connected. If not, the great employees will leave. You wouldn’t stay in a lousy relationship at home – why would you expect your employees would stay in one at work?
Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations – their leaders and managers – in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World. Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association, and you can follow him on Twitter.