Top 5 Signs You Need Leadership Training

Have you ever had a manager who left you wondering “How did (insert name) ever become a leader?” A former colleague of mine left the company where we had both worked after his boss admitted during a performance review that she wasn’t going to develop him for higher-level positions because she “didn’t want to lose him.”

young business people group have meeting and working in modern bright office indoorThat same boss, by the way, eventually drove her remaining direct reports out the door until the company removed her from the leadership role. What was most inconceivable in this situation, however, was that the firm is a global leader in its industry and a sterling brand with thousands of employees around the world. But the number one reason most people leave their jobs is due to poor leadership from their manager. Even if employees are otherwise happy with the company, salary, benefits, and other aspects of the job.

It costs companies thousands of dollars (100–200 percent of an annual salary for a mid-level exec) to find and recruit new employees plus many thousands more to train them, especially employees in highly-skilled fields. You, therefore, don’t want to lose good employees to bad bosses. “Bad managers cost businesses billions of dollars each year, and having too many of them can bring down a company,” reports Gallup.

Once more, Gallup says that “Less than one-third of Americans are engaged in their jobs in any given year and that managers account for up to 70 percent of the variance in engagement scores.” Indeed, a Gallup study of over 7,000 adults found that “One in two had left their job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.”

Thankfully, leadership training can usually save a leader from even the most self-destructive behaviors. These five habits are the top signs you need leadership training.

Top 5 Signs You Need Leadership Training

1. You’re not developing your employees

Everyone wants a clear growth path where they can envision future job titles, the chance to learn new skills and polish existing skills. If you're not giving your employees the opportunity to advance and grow with your company, they'll leave and find their path elsewhere.

2. You’re not communicating regularly with your employees

Tom Peters coined the phrase “management by walking around” (MBWA) several years ago. The concept, which implies you should find time to connect with your team members, still resonates today. From Employees Want a Lot More From Their Managers:

“Consistent communication—whether it occurs in person, over the phone, or electronically—is connected to higher engagement. For example, employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not hold regular meetings with them.”

3. You’re not sharing a company vision and purpose with your employees

Most employees want to see how they fit in with the big picture. Show them by sharing the company’s vision. If you’re a functional leader, share how your department helps the company achieve that vision. Your employees naturally want to see how their day-to-day activities are helping the company grow and evolve. Questions like “Where are we going, and why do we exist?” should be addressed.

4. You’re not delegating enough

Richard Branson, CEO and founder of the Virgin Group, once said: “If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you've got to learn to delegate." Moreover, if you're micro-managing your employees on the tasks you hand out—don't. To quote another famous leader, General George S. Patton: "Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with the results.”

In short, you must learn to trust your employees and let go.

5. Your employees are leaving

Ultimately, if you're not creating an environment where your employees feel motivated, comfortable, and cared about, they will leave. High employee attrition in a group, division, or department is the most visible sign that the company should address something.

And often, that something is the actions of an employee's manager. As Gallup observes, “Having a bad manager is often a one-two punch: Employees feel miserable while at work, and that misery follows them home, compounding their stress and negatively affecting their overall well-being.”

Maybe it’s time for leadership training.

Get your copy of "What Makes a Great Leader."


About the author

Gary Teagarden
Vistage Minnesota

Gary is an accomplished copywriter and B2B content marketing strategist. He’s written numerous articles and member stories for Vistage Minnesota since 2012.


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