by Michael Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 7/12/17.
In one study of 7,272 U.S. adults, it (Gallup) found that 50 percent of employees left their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.”
Gallup CEO Jim Clifton summarized this unfortunate phenomenon in a succinct sentence when he said this in the State of the American Workplace report:
The single biggest decision you make in your job–bigger than all the rest–is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits–nothing.
Hard Fact: Employees Come Before Customers
And therein lies the problem for managers still operating in traditional hierarchies, which represents the majority to this day. They have it all backwards.
Blanchard is famous for teaching the concept of an “upside down pyramid,” where leaders serve the employees, who are closest to the customer experience, first. He says:
Great leaders realize that their No. 1 customer is their people. If they take care of their people, train them, and empower them, those people will become fully engaged and gung-ho about what they do. In turn, they will reach out and take care of their second most important customer–the people who buy their products or services–and turn them into raving fans…
In Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last, he talks about the concept of the “circle of safety.” The world is filled with danger, things that are trying to frustrate our lives, reduce our success, or reduce our opportunity for success. The only variables, says Sinek in this TED Talk, are the conditions inside the organization, and that’s where leadership matters, because it’s the leader who sets the tone to make sure there’s trust and cooperation, and that employees’ needs are being met.
He brings the point home: “When a leader makes the choice to put the safety and lives of the people inside the organization first, to sacrifice their comforts and sacrifice the tangible results, so that the people remain and feel safe and feel like they belong, remarkable things happen.”