Ever work for a problem supervisor? Toxic managers create cultures of misery, low morale, and high turnover. The sad part, in many cases, is that many of these supervisors are often unaware that they are a problem, until it’s often too late to do anything about it.
It’s as if they have bad breath. Everyone knows it, and someone should tell him/her, but few people ever have the courage to step up and deliver the bad news when this happens. In the case of bad breath, most people wouldn’t want to hurt the individual’s feelings, and when managers are micromanaging tyrants, they may simply fear the reaction that would likely result by telling him/her something that they won’t want to hear. It’s too bad, because with coaching, many managers can learn how to motivate employees, and keep them from leaving.
Based on our experience talking to thousands of design professionals each year, here are the top five things (not including compensation) that employees want out of their employers.
Listening / Communication. Show me a manager who is a good listener and communicator, and I’ll show you a team with high morale.
Autonomy. Architects, Engineers, Planners, and Environmental Professionals, are smart people. Supervisors who recognize this and empower these professionals to do their jobs, are the leaders who do well in this industry. Micromanagers? Not so much.
Respect. Design industry employees want to feel respected. And this goes hand in hand with listening and autonomy. When supervisors trust employees, give them lots of autonomy, and listen to their views and opinions, you get respect.
Growth. Most people want to add value with their contributions and gain more responsibilities with experience. Nevertheless, there are managers who don’t always “get” how others feel, and have trouble keeping staff as a result.
Safety. Again, this should be another given, but there are managers who create hostile work environments, which often leads to unnecessary turnover. Ever worked for someone who screams, curses, and belittles others? These “abusive” types are responsible for making other’s lives quite miserable.
Although these five key things may seem like common sense to many, it can be difficult to recognize if there is a problem within your own firm. Many managers are often good people who are just unaware, or unable to acknowledge that they could use coaching on topics around interpersonal communications, listening, and emotional intelligence.