More than half of your employees are unhappy.

You might be thinking…well, not MY employees. Yes, even YOUR employees. Studies show 53% of employees are unhappy at work. And the reason they’re leaving: YOU. The majority of employees leave their manager…not their company.

We learn all kinds of things as managers. Things we can do, and things we can’t do. Then there are the things we still do, but know we probably shouldn’t do. And 58% of you didn’t receive any management training. So as Forbes.com puts it, “we have a bunch of leaders who aren’t trained on how to lead.”

That’s a problem.

Since you probably already know the things you can’t do or shouldn’t do, let us shine some light on what you should do. Here are three things you need to start doing today…before you lose your best employees.

  1. Forget the box. We always say we want our team to be critical thinkers; people who think outside the box. Yet, at the same time we make judgments about our employees based upon whether or not they know the answer to a problem. So forget what they “don’t know.” Forget the box. Why does it even have to be a box? If you want critical thinkers, start with what they do know and help them fill in the blanks. Stop providing them the answers to everything. Brainstorm and problem-solve with them; not for them. Encourage them to bring forth their ideas; good or bad, right or wrong. Allow them to make mistakes. Because that’s how we learn. Otherwise, you might as well just give them some flash cards to memorize…
  2. Let them borrow your shoes. We’ve all heard the saying, “Walk a day in someone else’s shoes.” There’s something to be said about that. This might be a little unorthodox, but let your team walk a day in your shoes. Yes, we know you can’t let them make financial decisions or address disciplinary issues. You’re not giving them your shoes, just letting them borrow your shoes. Let your team see what you do; what problems you solve; what issues you process. Let them gain an appreciation for more than just their own role in the company. And more importantly, let them be part of it.
  3. Don’t talk about it, be about it. There was a story the other day about a Director of Nursing who didn’t want to deny an employee sick leave, so she scheduled herself to work two days as a CNA. An extremely important (and sometimes gross) job, but at the bottom of the totem pole. But she did it, saying she would never ask her employees to do anything she wouldn’t do. Not only did she help show that the employee’s needs were important, she gained a new appreciation for the things that her employees do every single day. Those are the kind of managers people want to work for. Don’t talk about it, be about it. That means you need to demonstrate the behaviors you want to see. If you want employees to be more engaged, then do something to engage them. Stop preaching and start doing.

With the unemployment rate so low these days, people have options. Lots of bright, shiny options. The last thing we want is for them to start looking elsewhere because you overlooked what was really important to them. Be the leader you would want to work for. It’s that simple.


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