Everyone has probably had the experience of working for a “micromanager.” And if you have, you have our deepest sympathies. So, how does this style affect employee retention?
Micromanaging can create a sense of distrust between employee and manager: “My voice doesn’t matter.” This is not ideal for fostering creativity or looking at problems from a different perspective. It can make an employee feel like they could be easily replaced when everything is laid out step by step – “does it matter if I’m here?” It also erodes confidence and doesn’t give a sense of ownership, which is important for feeling like you’re making a valuable contribution and being appreciated for your efforts. It can inadvertently make people feel like they are going backward in their career rather than progressing, being challenged, learning new things and being trusted to meet or exceed expectations when given an assignment or project.
That’s one part of the spectrum, but how about when you go the other extreme and are a “hands-off” or “absentee” manager? Some managers may believe that taking a more hands-off approach will result in employees being more engaged to jump in and take ownership. However, without guidance, regular check-ins and consistent communication, employees can be left floundering, not knowing what’s expected or what’s a priority can lead to lower productivity and a feeling of being disconnected from the team’s goals or even the mission of the company.
Leadership styles that find a balance and get it “just right” (aka the goldilocks principle) give employees a true sense of ownership in their day-to-day roles and allow them to have a voice and trust that they are being listened to and heard by management. When leadership styles tend too far to one extreme or the other, you run the risk of negatively impacting your retention efforts.
Great leaders create an environment that is open to new ideas and provide a platform where these ideas can be discussed giving employees a strong sense of self-worth and instilling the confidence they need to be effective in their job roles. When you achieve a balance, you increase employee fulfillment, boost employee morale and create and foster a culture that will not only attract but retain and engage your top talent.