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Think twice before closing the door behind you!

“You won’t see me again! I’ve had enough of it!” Bang! He slammed the door behind him. It doesn’t always happen so emotionally, but each day, managers quit their job. I’ve seen it happen quite often: that last meeting or emotional discussion was the last drop making the cup run over. Or was it just another boring day at the office?

Believe me: adrenaline is a bad counsellor. This isn’t meant as a reproach, but especially young managers react very impulsively in crisis situations. For days, weeks, months... they are being involved in the carrousel, until they decide to quit. They are young and ambitious, aren’t they? Time for action! Suddenly, they hit the roof. Employees with more seniority think twice before giving up their severance grant. Moreover, older employees are usually less stubborn...

Phew, what a relief! Throwing the towel undoubtedly gives you a feeling of relief. But the question is: which feeling will remain when the former will start fading away? How will you look at the situation within a week or month, when quietly analyzing it?

Trust me: after 35 years of practical experience, I can assure you that I’ve seen many managers come back with their tail between their legs. I know it may sound obvious, but you should think before acting! Adrenaline and common sense don’t match so well...

The 10 most common reasons to quit
By acting proactively, you will avoid a lot of trouble. If you know what might go wrong in the meantime, you will nip a lot of frustration in the bud. Take my advice!

Why do employees actually leave a company? These are the 10 most common reasons:
  1. My job is boring. I’m in the daily round. There are no challenges for me (anymore).
  2. I’m out of touch with the final purpose. There is no information flow (anymore) or it is not sufficient (anymore). Why would I keep doing this?
  3. I’m not (sufficiently) involved in the decision-making process.
  4. My superior is incompetent and doesn’t belong here.
  5. Every day, I go home with an empty feeling. The lack of team work and - worse– the ‘political games’ between employees suck out all my energy.
  6. Every day, I get annoyed about ergonomic or practical inconveniences at work.
  7. I don’t get enough respect for what I’m doing.
  8. My salary is too low. I don’t get enough career opportunities.
  9. I don’t like my colleagues.
  10. I can’t combine my job with my family life (work-life-balance).
As an executive, what are you thinking when reading this list? Are these all insurmountable problems? I don’t think so.

Food for thought
Indeed, this list doesn’t only contain food for thought for those who are leaving: especially the superior (the ‘boss’) of the employee concerned should anticipate in order to prevent the latter’s resignation. Frustrated employees are underperforming and when they eventually leave the company, they often take lots of knowhow and customers with them. Moreover, you will need to replace them. You will have to recruit and train new employees, and give them the chance to settle in... . What a waste of time and money!

Still, suddenly resigning employees (regretted loss) are a rather unusual phenomenon. Executives staying close and really listening to their employees, know why. This seems obvious, but according to my practical experience, it isn’t. In most cases, employees do not resign as suddenly as it seems.

Disease & cure
What can you do as a ‘boss’ in order to avoid or anticipate problems?
  1. Disease: lack of communication.
    Cure: lead! Good leaders are communicating in a continuous and interactive way.
  2. Disease: lack of delegation.
    Cure: delegate the best you can, be clear and give continuous feedback ‘in real time’. Good leaders stimulate initiatives and entrepreneurship!
  3. Disease: lack of team work.
    Cure: show the good example by ‘cross-functionally’ involving everyone in all important tasks and decisions. Good leaders build close teams!
  4. Disease: lack of time and active listening.
    Cure: take time to listen to your employees. ‘Availability’ is the key word here. Try to avoid a permanently overloaded agenda. Impossible? Start deleting a few ‘nice to do’ things and you will be surprised. Never forget that your employees are your most important resources! During my career as an employee, my best superiors were often visible and available. Availability is a criterion for sound management.
Whatever happens, bear in mind that the grass is not always greener on the other side and that patience is a virtue!

Next week, we will focus on the employee’s point of view.


By Herman van Herterijck

"my ambition is to put the importance of pragmatic and continuous self-coaching on the agenda of current business leaders"

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