Avoid Being Swamped by the Quitting Tsunami

The Hays Canada 2024 Salary & Hiring Trends report warns, “Quiet quitting was the dominant theme in 2023, defined as ‘putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than necessary.’ This trend is evident in labor productivity, which has declined nationally in six consecutive quarters. But this quiet quitting trend could be about to turn into real quitting. More people than ever are considering quitting their jobs and looking for better opportunities elsewhere…as the economy recovers this will only get worse.”

Leading the Way to Go or Stay

Countless studies of turnover and engagement show that people join an organization and quit their boss. Many quit and stay. They disengage and reduce their efforts. But studies are now warning of a big wave of quitting and leaving that’s about to inundate organizations — especially those with less effective leadership.

Research on attracting and retaining people shows that 60% – 70% of the reason people quit is because of their manager. Zenger Folkman has a database of over 125,000 leaders assessed by over 1 million direct reports, managers, peers, and others. This graph is one of many Zenger Folkman studies showing the profound impact of leadership on employee engagement — which leads to retaining or losing your best people.

Many leaders keep searching for programs and systems to increase productivity and reduce turnover. Some of them are helpful. But leaders can find the biggest factor by looking in the mirror.

Five Ways to Show Them to the Door

There are many reasons people leave. Here are five common causes of quitting and splitting:

  1. Bad or Bully Boss — U.S.Workplace Bullying Survey reported that 79.3 million workers were affected by workplace bullying. 2/3 of that bullying is by bosses. 43% of remote workers report being bullied in meetings and electronically. There can be a very fine line between a bad boss and a bully boss. Bad bosses are often good people doing a bad job. Bully bosses usually have complex psychological issues or badly twisted personal values.
  2. Micromanagement — Like the perception of fair compensation, micromanagement depends on whether we’re giving or receiving it. Most managers don’t feel they’re micromanaging. However, 360 assessments of less effective managers often paint a different picture. Here are nine signs of micromanagement.
  3. Return to Office Mandates — Hybrid, Work-From Home, and Return to Work mandates are new variations of an old issue — bossing versus leading. Bosses push, manipulate, and mandate. Leaders pull, serve, and partner.
  4. Cynicism and Mistrust — The adage “we judge ourselves by our intentions while everyone else judges us by our actions” is especially central to building credibility and trust. Leaders looking to increase trust levels often confuse their intentions with the behavior others are seeing.
  5. Recognition Missteps –– many managers realize the basic human need to be recognized and appreciated. So, they try to provide some sort of recognition. But many make one or more of these recognition mistakes.

Built for Keeps: A Magnetic Culture That Attracts and Retains the Best People

Organizational culture is “the way we do things around here,” — especially when a boss isn’t around. It’s behavior that’s expected/rewarded and unacceptable/punished. Those are the organization’s lived or real values. They come directly from the signals organizational leaders send by where they spend their time and what they focus on.

How the leadership team functions — or dysfunctions — ripples out to shape organizational culture. Leadership team dynamics are central to the organization’s positive or negative magnetic field.

Building a magnetic culture has many moving parts. It can get complex; here’s a few keys that stand out:

  • Internal culture and leadership brand reinforces or ridicules the organization’s external brand marketing.
  • An unfiltered feedback system reduces the smothering silencethat causes many leaders to confuse their desired culture with their actual culture.
  • Three to four core valuesare the bedrock of culture. It’s clear they’re either so much hot air and gas or rock-solid reality in hiring, promotions, performance management, succession planning, HR systems, recognition, and similar people decisions and processes.
  • It’s a virtuous circle — better leaders make better cultures, and better cultures make better leaders. The opposite, vicious circle, is also true.
  • Most companies with enduring greatness effectively manage the purpose-profit paradox— they have a culture of both purposeful profits and profitable purpose.
  • Most organizations believe they have communication problems. What they most often have are leadership problems. Team members see the messagesloud and clear.

How Leaders Foster Quitting or Committing

In their Talent Quarterly article on retention, Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman “propose a simple three-level analysis of leader behavior that could have the effect of higher retention versus a tendency to leave:

  • Level 1: Offensive behavior that is rude, demeaning, disrespectful, and generally socially unacceptable.
  • Level 2: Nice behavior that is polite, respectful, fair, courteous, and accepting.
  • Level 3: Caring behavior that shows a genuine interest in the other person, wanting them to flourish and succeed in their work and life.”

Zenger Folkman’s studied the 360 assessments of more than 467,000 direct reports on 90,000 managers. They identified 8 Traits of Leaders Who Retain Talent:

  1. Inspires Others
  2. Communicates Powerfully
  3. Creates a Positive Team Environment
  4. Has a Clear Vision and Direction
  5. Builds Positive Relationships
  6. Develops Others
  7. Sets Stretch Goals
  8. Acts as a Role Model

Promoting a Virtuous Circle

In his introduction to The Hays Canada 2024 Salary & Hiring Trends, President of Hays Canada, Travis O’Rourke, writes, “The number of professionals intending to leave their job this year is the highest that we have ever seen (71%), which means managers need to prepare for a potential new wave of resignations.”

A powerful culture nurtures strong leaders. Strong leaders build powerful cultures. This chicken-and-egg paradox positively charges a virtuous energy circle. The upward spiral generates a positive magnetic field to attract and retain the best people — who then add to the positive energy.


The post Avoid Being Swamped by the Quitting Tsunami appeared first on The Clemmer Group.

For over three decades, Jim Clemmer’s keynote presentations, workshops, management team retreats, seven bestselling books, articles, and blog have helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. The Clemmer Group is the Canadian strategic partner of Zenger Folkman, an award-winning firm best known for its unique evidence-driven, strengths-based system for developing extraordinary leaders and demonstrating the performance impact they have on organizations. Check out www.clemmergroup.com for upcoming webinars and workshops.

Website: http://www.clemmergroup.com

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