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Why You Need Great Managers

People join an organization, but they leave a manager. Is that an unfair statement? In fact, organizations rarely associate employee turnover with poor managers. Why? In exit interviews, almost all resigning employees avoid "burning any bridges." They spin their reasons for leaving, listing issues like pay, promotion opportunities, or additional benefits. Information garnered from most exit interviews is largely irrelevant, and many companies now conduct face-to-face meetings only with departing executives.

Searching for meaningful clues to retention, some companies postpone exit surveys for six months or more after employees have said farewell. The interlude results in feedback that's surprisingly more honest than data obtained in traditional exit interviews. After several months, these same employees are less emotional, because enough time has elapsed for them to weigh objectively their former situations and experiences against their new jobs. Less reliant on positive references from their former employers, they are free to answer honestly when questioned about the reasons for their departure. Not surprisingly, most former employees list poor management as their primary reason for changing jobs.

Maybe that's why job seekers are becoming more selective in the managers for whom they choose to work. According to a recent Gallup Panel survey, 56 percent of job candidates said that a quality manager is extremely important when considering a position. By comparison, only 53 percent said compensation was extremely important in a potential job. What's more, many respondents reported turning down job offers specifically because of an unlikable manager they met during the interview.

In an article for "Gallup Management Journal," Bryant Ott, Nikki Blacksmith, and Ken Royal say company recruiters would be wise to note this trend. "If [companies] don't revise their recruiting pitch to include concrete examples of great management, and if they don't have great managers in the first place, then job seekers will listen to companies that do."
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The more I talk to people about these sorts of situations the more your quote hits home.

Great managers are rare, so how do you get the message across in an interview that the prospective employee will be working for a good one? If I'm interviewing, how do I tell them I'm a good manager without showing off?

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