As the saying goes, people don't quit jobs, they quit managers. Managers are responsible for retaining key players or driving them out the door. Regardless of years of experience, industry or company size, here are four questions every manager should ask themselves to be more effective in their roles.
What do you want your best person to say about you? Are you doing things that would make your staff say these things? How often are you looking back at this list? Have you shared it with them? Building trust with your top players means sharing your goals and what you're striving for as a leader. They can help you get there. It takes vulnerability to share your goals with your direct reports, but you'll gain their trust as a result.
In a perfect world, how would you run and grow your group(s)? Budget aside, resources aside, what would you do? Remove the barriers and get creative. When you think big, you can walk away with something tangible that works for your team and company. It doesn't need to be the grandiose idea, but some variation of it, something small you can incorporate into your groups. If it moves the needle by one percent that is okay. It's something. If your mind stays confined within whatever barriers exist, your team won't grow.
How are you spending your days? As a manager, you won't get less busy. So, assuming your days won't slow down or that you won't magically get more hours in the day, think about how you're spending your days. Are you in back-to-back one-on-ones with everyone on your team? Or are you sitting on the floor with your team, listening to their calls, what they're working on, how they're working together (or if they're not). What employees are you spending most of your days with? Are you using your days coaching C players, hoping they'll eventually be motivated to improve in their role? Are you spending all your time with A players who are already crushing it for the company simply because it's easy to be around them? Are you getting your work done? Are you taking time to get away from your desk to brainstorm and think big-picture, and giving your team the opportunity to think for themselves? Look back at your days often to spot what took more time than expected, or what got in the way of you getting done what you set out to achieve at the start of the day.
What's your biggest anxiety? What are you most nervous about? What's keeping you up at night and distracted during the day? Is it hitting a goal? Is it having a tough conversation with an employee? Is it knowing you have to let someone go? Step one is identifying what you're avoiding or feeling overwhelmed with, and then begin to problem solve! Don't try to come up with the solution alone. Use your peer group. Use your company's leadership team. Find a peer/mentor at the company who has been through something similar and hear how they handled the situation.
Look back at these questions often as the answers to each will change depending on your team, what they're work on, company goals, or your goals.
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