This article was originally published on LinkedIn here.
There’s an infamous saying that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately:
People quit their managers, not their companies
Having traveled to over 30 states in the US for the past 10 years, speaking and training thousands of engineering professionals, I can attest to the truth of this statement—that engineers are fired from CEOs, not from companies.
in fact, a Gallup study concluded that one in two people admitted to leaving a job to get away from a bad boss, and 70% of the factors that contribute to your happiness at work are directly related to your boss.
Why is this important to your firm?
Three critical aspects of your firm’s growth recruiting talent, developing that talent, and retaining that talent. You can go to great lengths to do these things, but bad managers can destroy all your efforts and cost your firm a lot of money in turnover costs. Worse, they can hinder your firm’s growth.
Bad managers can completely change everything your firm has built in a relatively short period of time.
How do you avoid bad managers from stunting your firm’s growth?
Our company provides training and coaching services, so obviously I say train your managers. But this is only a part. I believe the answer lies in the individuals who work for your managers. These individuals should measure their manager’s progress and openly discuss their feedback with them.
Typical training programs in the engineering world either don’t measure progress at all OR they measure solely the individual being trained. What if we change that?
What if we started measuring the teams of those leaders who are being trained? What if we measure these leaders based on the retention of their team members? What if we held quarterly open discussions between executives and their teams to help executives improve?
The last point is something that has been successful in companies that promote meritocracy, a system in which leadership is based on ability.
At the Institute of Engineering Management, we have developed educational programs it will help your managers become the best managers they can be.
Hopefully, your firm may be interested in some of these services. However, even if you don’t and you decide to go it alone, here are some tips:
- Evaluate or measure your managers on the performance of their staff.
- Constantly ask your employees to rate their managers.
- Encourage open discussions between employees and managers by asking employees to provide feedback directly to their managers.
- Measure retention rates frequently and look for patterns that may be below average management performance.
If you’re building a great company, you’ll need the help of great managers. Not good, but great.
If you would like to receive my monthly column entitled The Pulse of Engineering Management, please contact me.
Please leave your comments, feedback, or questions in the section below about why you think engineers get fired from CEOs instead of companies.
to your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Institute of Engineering Management
The author Create your own success