They say people don’t leave businesses, they leave Managers. That used to be a message about strengthening your management team. Now it’s a warning about managing at all.
I make a point of listening to what the employees are thinking and feeling, and feeding valuable information back to the leadership team. I just ask a few questions about what’s going on for them, and I’ve never in my 14 years of business coaching found anyone who didn’t have something of value to say. They start with the nice stuff, but as I dig deeper and listen “between the lines”, they tell me they don’t want to be managed; they want to be empowered to manage themselves by capable leaders with good coaching skills. They tell me that they need owners and leader s to deal with difficult people so they aren’t forced into the daily nightmare of working alongside them. They tell me they don’t like being spoken to like a child, and they wish more businesses would practice what they preach.
When I ask them to describe their ideal manger, they don’t describe a manager at all. The successful manager of the future is a leader and a coach. They possess the power to inspire employees with a sense of purpose in their work. They make sure employees have a steady diet of learning new things as well as opportunities to get better at the things they already know. They create a safe environment, not only physically safe, but emotionally safe to be in. I don’t mean a place where everyone is walking around on “pins and needles” trying not to offend each other. I mean one where healthy uplifting pressure replaces the unhealthy downward forceful pressure that often comes from badly trained managers with low emotional intelligence. Finally, they build trust, give their people lots of room and encourage risk taking.
The roots of management lie in the need to control, and control, when exercised alongside good values is a positive and necessary part of the business process, but many Managers in small business have never been trained to do this well. This leads to a lack of honest feedback that is crippling to an organization.
Employees will resist being completely honest with you for fear of losing their jobs. Who do you have working with you, to understand what’s really going on in your business?
Clint Best is a business coach and the founder of Kaizen Business Coaching in Kelowna, BC. Clint has been guiding forward thinking business owners through change and growth since 2002.