One of the pleasures of being a consultant is the way that you get to talk with a lot of talented people about their jobs, their lives, and what motivates them. A few weeks ago I was sitting in the office of a medical director chatting about the job changes he had made in the last ten years. He said something that really stuck with me.
"My last company wasn't perfect. There were some serious issues, but there was a lot that I loved about it too. I left when I was no longer allowed to do the right thing as a manager."
I asked what it meant to do the right thing, and I got back a list of items that sounded very familiar.
1. Expecting people to do thier jobs well.
2. Letting go of people who don't perform well.
3. Having the authority to make the decisions I need to make, to do my job well.
In my brain a little "Kapow!" went off, because I realize I've been hearing this story from a lot of different managers over the last year.
Let Us Do Our Jobs. Please.
This director, like most managers I work with, doesn't think that he should be the final authority on all matters. He is open to the viewpoints of others, and willing to take direction from his CEO. However, as soon as he felt his hands were tied when it came to running his group appropriately, he took his talents elsewhere.
Managers leave when:
- They are prevented from fixing problems.
- They are required to keep employees that suck at their jobs.
- They are micromanaged.
- They are given big goals, but no authority or resources to achieve them.
Yup, this is what it means for a manager "to do the right thing."
I have not had managers tell me that they leave a job because is is too hard, or because they are expected to work a lot of hours. I have had several managers tell me that they have left a job (or are thinking about leaving) because they are prevented from doing the good quality work they feel the job deserves.
Do your managers keep quitting? Are you experiencing too much turnover in your leadership team? If so, ask yourself if you are letting your managers do what is right. The answer may surprise you.
Cheri Baker is a consultant who helps organizations reduce unwanted turnover by getting at the root cause of the problem. PS: Most people want to do the right thing, they just need skills & permission.